The Straight Facts on Teen Inhalant Abuse
Inhalant abuse might be considered "no big deal" by teens, but it can be an incredibly addictive and dangerous problem.
If you are a parent, marijuana and ecstasy aren't the only recreational drugs that you need to be worried about your children abusing. While these illegal drugs are certainly dangerous and are frequently abused by troubled teens, there is a problem that is just as common and perhaps even more insidious -- inhalants.
This is because while teens need to find sources in order to purchase illegal drugs, dangerous inhalants come in the form of the most common household products.
Types of Inhalants Abused by Teenagers
Inhalants abused by teens include household cleaning supplies like paint thinner or nail polish remover, office supplies like correction fluid and electronic contact cleaner, aerosols like spray paint or hairspray and gases such as whipped cream dispensers.
While many teens think these forms of getting high are harmless, the truth is that they are very dangerous and addictive, with many residential treatment centers dealing with boys and girls who develop long-term addictions to inhalants.
Helping troubled teens who are abusing inhalants can seem difficult. One reason is that most teens don't recognize that inhalants are a problem, to begin with. The most recent Monitoring the Future study on teen drug attitudes showed that almost two-thirds of all eighth-grade students didn't think experimenting with inhalants was risky.
Another issue is how easy it is for kids to gain access to possibly dangerous inhalants. As outlined above, many products that can be abused by teens looking for a cheap high can be purchased at a local supermarket. Even in restrictive environments like boys boarding schools, it can be incredibly easy for troubled teens to sneak inhalants and abuse them in their dorms or bathrooms.
What To Do If You Suspect Your Teen is Abusing Inhalants
If you suspect your son or daughter is abusing inhalants, it's important to get them help immediately. Inhalants can cause long-term brain injuries or even death, and continual use can lead to addiction.
It's also important to treat the psychological issues that the teen might be going through; in many cases, inhalant abuse is a sign of depression or other mental illness. Troubled teens programs can address both drug abuse and the mental health issues that lead children down the dangerous path of inhalant use.