Inhalants are a popular method to achieve a high, but it is far from a safe method. Unlike other abuses that people have, inhalants don’t always involve a drug. Anything from glue to markers to even hand sanitizer can be used as an inhalant to replicate the buzz that drugs can cause in the human body. What makes inhalants remarkably dangerous, however, is that they typically interfere with oxygen distribution throughout the body.
Statistics on Inhalant Abuse
1. 1.1 million kids in the 12-17 age demographic in the United States have used inhalants at least once in the past 12 months.
2. 22%. That’s the percentage of inhalant users who will die from Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome even if they’ve had no history of inhalant abuse or are trying an inhalant for the first time ever.
3. There are an estimated 14,000 kids living on the street in Karachi, Pakistan. Up to 90% of them are using inhalants on a regular basis.
4. More than 22.9 million Americans have experimented with inhalants at some point in their lives.
5. The number of emergency room visits every year in the US that are directly attributable to the use of inhalants: 3,800.
6. In the United States, 450 hospitalizations a year occur because of inhalant poisonings.
7. In 2007, inhalants were the substance most frequently abused by youth aged 12 or 13.
8. 20% of European youth in the 12 to 16 age demographic have tried inhalants.
9. 1 in 4 students in America has intentionally abused a common household product to get high by the time they reach the 8th grade.
10. “Sniffing” and “huffing” can begin at age 10 or younger.
11. Inhalants are the fourth most-abused substance after alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana.
12. 59%. That’s the percentage of kids in the 12-17 age demographic who are aware of at least one friend who is using an inhalant on a regular basis.
13. Inhalants tend to be the drug that is tried first by children.
14. 68.4% of people who use inhalants on any given year are first-time users.
15. NIDA’s annual MTF survey of 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-graders consistently reports the highest rates of current, past-year, and lifetime inhalant use among 8th-graders.
16. Although the inhalant use rates are still high, abuse rates have actually been regularly decreasing since their peak usage rates in the 1990’s.
17. Reports of inhalant abuse to Poison Control Centers has reduced by 33% from 1990-2008.
18. 8th grade girls [8.6%] are more likely to try inhalants than 8th grade boys [5.5%].
19. In terms of ethnicity, Hispanics have the highest rates of past-year use among 8th- and 10th-graders, compared to both African-Americans and Caucasians.
20. Urban and rural settings see comparable rates of inhalant abuse.
21. The most commonly abused inhalant in the United States: butane.
22. 58% of users reporting first use of an inhalant by the end of ninth grade.
23. One-third of at-risk youth in the juvenile justice system report regular abuses of inhalants, even when they are in treatment or lockdown facilities.
24. 10% of adult substance abusers surveyed in a treatment center had used inhalants more than 5 times.
Impact and Effects of Inhalants
In other words, someone feels like they are getting high from inhalants because their mind is reeling from an overall lack of oxygen. Sniffing a solvent or other substance is remarkably common. Workers may do it every day and not realize that they are harming themselves. Children are particularly vulnerable to inhalants because it may interfere with their growing patterns and may even lead to developmental disabilities.
Prevention begins at home when it comes with inhalants. Parents needs to be teaching children to work with potentially hazardous substances in an environment that has good air movement. There should never be glues or solvents used in an enclosed environment. Because many kids don’t see inhalants as a drug, a basic approach to saying “No” to drugs isn’t always effective here. Talk with kids about statistics like these and how important it is not to put harmful inhalants into their body.
Inhalants might seem like an innocent pastime, but they are incredibly dangerous. They can even be deadly under certain circumstances. What is even more disturbing is that despite this knowledge, many are still choosing to use inhalants on a regular basis.
Abuse and Prevention
People who are abusing inhalants are typically not going to think they need any help. Most of them don’t see any harm in the practice because they don’t see themselves as using a drug. The only problem is that butane can cause fatal arrhythmias and brain damage when abused in a chronic fashion.
Because inhalant abuse starts so young, it is important for parents to be proactive during the elementary school ages to discuss the dangers that are involved with sniffing and huffing. 1 in 5 kids is going to die from sniffing or huffing when they do it, even if it is the very first time they’ve ever done it. Many drugs talk about the fact that it only takes once, but that is absolutely true for inhalants. The dangers are very real and proven.
So why do kids try inhalants first above other drugs? Money is a primary factor. Inhalants are relatively cheap and they are easy to access. After all, it only takes one tube of the wrong glue to be able to start sniffing. They can be purchased virtually anywhere and having the items won’t raise suspicions for the average parent. Owning items like nail polish remover or a computer dust remover is a very plausible need. That plausibility downplays the potential that someone is using the inhalant for psychoactive effects.
Inhalant abuse may cause motor defects, learning disabilities, and death. The statistics prove it. That’s why knowing these facts can help everyone inform today’s kids that sniffing or huffing is not a good choice to make.