Drug Abuse Prevention: Putting a Halt to Huffing (cont.)
Misuse of these products can also lead to other consequences. Because these products are attracted to fatty cells in the body, a number of things can occur:
There has also been some research that indicates the fetal effects of using inhalants may be very similar to fetal alcohol syndrome.
One of the outcomes can be that of intoxication, which will impair judgment and reaction time. Some other things that can happen are emotional instability and cognitive impairment (staggering or stumbling) and there could be a loss of sense of smell.
Not all of these could happen the first or second time an inhalant is used, but it will have an accumulative effect on your child's body.
What a parent needs to determine is exactly what products they suspect their child is abusing and they need to find out the components of those products. What I would recommend is either calling the manufacturer or better still, calling their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.
If indeed a parent, guardian or teacher suspects that a child may be using inhalants, they should speak to their family doctor, the school nurse or possibly the guidance counselor in the school.
If someone continues on and becomes a heavy inhalant user there will be a buildup of toxins in their body, which goes back to the brain and causes neural impairments that I mentioned earlier.
Young people make choices all the time and they take risks. Some of those risks are unavoidable. The obligation that a parent ought to have is to be able to give honest and factual information to their child so they can make appropriate decisions for themselves.
When we started our program in Texas in 1991, we made a conscious choice to get the poison prevention message to the youngest children, including preschoolers. We conducted independent focus groups to ensure that the wrong message was not being given to a youngster.
Poison is poison, and it is important to get that message across.
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