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Inhalant abuse can be treated appropriately with the right drug rehabilitation. Throughout the country are countless programs available for teens and adults who are abusing inhalants. It is crucial to catch this addiction before it spirals out of control because of the damaging and permanent effects. The treatment process would involve drug detox and some inpatient or outpatient rehab. An inhalant abuse requires the time to treat the underlying issues and reasons why they started to abuse these products. Along with this, the proper time is necessary to attempt to reverse the damage done physically and psychologically. Most people do not fully realize the dangers of inhaling these chemicals and the permanent brain damage it can cause.

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An inhalant would be any substance that could be inhaled to achieve the desired effect. For example, volatile substance abuse, solvent abuse, sniffing, huffing, and bagging. Materials that could be inhaled include solvents, aerosol sprays, gases, and nitrites. These are all various types of products that are found at home or in the workplace, such as spray paints, markers, glues, and cleaning products. Most of these products contact dangerous substances that have psychoactive properties when inhaled. The average Canadian would not think of these products as something that could be used to get high. However, inhalants are common throughout Canada and are mostly used by kids and teens and are used more by younger than older teens.

The chronic abuse of inhalants is associated with often irreversible effects, and over 1% of Canadians aged 15 and older had used inhalants at least once in their lifetime. Inhalants are legal and easy to obtain, which account for a higher abuse potential among teens and children. Inhalant abuse is also common among the homeless population in Canada. Statistics have also shown that inhalant abuse is more common in school dropouts, persons who have been sexually abused or neglected, and individuals who have been incarcerated, and aboriginal communities. Inhalant abuse in Canada is seen more in rural communities, and many isolated communities with high rates of unemployment, violence, and poverty.

The products being abuse are pharmacologically diverse, legal, sold everywhere, and can induce euphoria quickly. Some of the most common inhalants include gasoline, paint, propane/butane, air fresheners, and formalin. Most of the deaths related to inhalant abuse are because of gasoline. There also are solvents, which include industrial or household products, such as paint thinners, gasoline, and lighter fluid. Art or office supply solvents include felt tip markers, glue, and correction fluids. Aerosols include spray paints, hair or deodorant sprays, and aerosol computer cleaning products. Gases that are found in a household or commercial product include butane lighters, propane tanks, whipped cream aerosols, ether, nitrous oxide, and chloroform.

The sniffing or snorting of these products involves the direct inhalation of fumes, such as from a paper or plastic bag, or huffing from a rag soaked in the product. It only takes a few deep breaths of the product to produce any of the effects needed. A euphoric effect is felt, the brain is rapidly affected, and the results are similar to those of anesthetics. The drug user will experience hallucinations, depression, slurred speech, dizziness, disorientation, drowsiness, and will eventually pass out. Further drowsiness and disorientation can persist for hours because of residual intoxication.

The chronic abuse of inhalants has shown to cause irreversible neurological damage along with permanent psychological damage. It may be challenging to spot inhalant abuse because the signs are subtler, and the effects are rapid but disappear quickly. Most of these products are legal, and the storage of these products or keeping them is less conspicuous. However, someone who is abusing these products will stash them away. Chronic users have clear physical signs such as bad breath, stains, such as around the mouth or on the skin. There is often always a redness or rash around the mouth and nose, and of course, the general confusion and disorientation.


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