What You Can Do
The primary focus of the
New Approach to Preventing
adults, not youth. Whenever discussing inhalants remember that they are
toxin’s & poisons
IN AN EMERGENCY
1) If you discover a person abusing inhalants,
DO NOT increase the abuser’s heart rate by
chasing or hollering at the individual, as this rapid increase in
already elevated heart rates can cause Sudden
2) Call 911 ...& the Poison Control Center
3) Move the person to a ventilated room
4) If unconscious, move the person on their side so
do not asphyxiate themselves.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
It is often hard to detect youth that are under the influence of
inhalants, but here are some things to watch for:
odors on clothes or breath
stains on face and hands
inhalant containers; such as lighters, aerosol spray cans, whipped cream
cans, computer keyboard cleaners, etc.
or paint stains on backpacks
spots around nose or mouth
or rags with chemical odors
of air filter masks
or ‘always empty’ household sprays or school supplies
WAYS PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS & CARE-GIVERS CAN TAKE
It’s important for parents, grandparents and caregivers to know a little
about inhalants abuse before discussing the subject with your children.
Here’s some information that should be helpful.
Things To Know
1. Nearly all abused inhalants produce effects similar to
anesthetics. The neurotoxin effects, and intoxication, generally last a
few minutes. However, successive inhalations within a short period have
serious consequences; and can cause sudden death when the chemicals in
inhalants interfere with the heart’s rhythm-regulating systems and stop
2. Regular abuse of inhalants has devastating, and some
irreversible, health consequences. (see the ‘Serious Health Consequences
of Inhalants’ section on the
About Inhalant Abuse
3. In 2004, 2.1 million children abused inhalants
4. Most inhalant abusers are between the age of 10 -15,
when taking a risk is a normal part of growing up. Abusing inhalants
seems like a ’safe’ risk because inhalants are legal and easily
5. Do not view abusing inhalants as a ’phase’, for new
research shows that many inhalants are highly addictive.
6. If you discover a child abusing inhalants, DO NOT
increase the abuser’s heart rate by chasing or hollering at the
individual, as this rapid increase in already elevated heart rates can
cause Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome.
Use Your ‘Teachable Moments’
When using a aerosol or solvent for a household project, invite your
children to help you. Ask your young child to help you by reading the
instructions to you, then make a point of following the guidelines for
ventilation & safe use. You might also ask your child to read you the
list of chemical ingredients; then, while doing the project together,
you can discuss how toxic many of the ingredients are.
Simple Things Everyone Can Do
In the Kitchen or Bathroom: Switch to solid, pump-spray or
non-aerosol air fresheners and cleaners.
In the Office:
Don’t buy ‘flavor scented’ markers or aerosol computer
keyboard cleaner, switch from correction fluid to strip-style correction
In the Garage:
Keep your paints, liquid fertilizers, lighter fluid,
propane tanks, WD-40, engine starting fluid, etc in a well-locked
cabinet and keep the key in a secure place.
Don’t use the phrase ‘getting high’
when discussing inhalants. Instead, use the word intoxicated.
Remember, inhalants are toxins and poisons, … not drugs.
And, most importantly
Tell your children and grandchildren that you will be disappointed in
them if they abuse inhalants.
Tell them your opinion about abusing inhalants. Though
they may not say it, or show it, your children value your opinion of
them and want your approval. They don’t want to disappoint you,… so
make sure they know that you care about this issue.
INCORPORATING INHALANT PREVENTION INTO THE CLASSROOM
preschoolers & young children, stress that inhalants are dangerous
poisons as part of existing ‘not in your mouth/body’ lessons.
school children, address inhalant’s poisonous effects on the environment
in earth studies or science class, and on the body in health classes &
older children, explore the toxic effects of inhalants in physical
science & chemistry classes.
using an inhalant in the classroom, follow the guidelines for product
usage and, no matter what the age, supervise the children’s use of
monitor the supplies of inhalants kept in the classroom or school. Make
sure these supplies are stored in a locked cabinet and that the key is
kept in a secure location.
Everyone can help in this effort to incorporate inhalant
prevention messages in your own community.
Approach School Board members, Superintendents of
Schools, curriculum planners, teachers unions & Parent Teacher
Associations (PTA’s) in your local community and discuss ways that
inhalant prevention messages could be added to existing lesson plans.
Feel free to
the CT Inhalant Task Force for our assistance in
educating your community leaders about the importance of inhalant abuse
EVERYONE CAN HELP
Inhalants are available everywhere,... so young people can easily find
inhalable products to abuse. The primary focus of the
New Approach to Preventing
is educating adults, not youth. If you are preparing a
presentation or discussion on poisons & toxins for youth DO NOT provide
a ‘show & tell’ of inhalable products.
Here’s ways that individuals can help prevent inhalant
School Nurses & School Resource Officers:
Learn what to look for to help identify an inhalant
abuser (see What To Look For’ earlier on this page). If you
discover a student abusing inhalants, DO NOT increase the abuser’s heart
rate by chasing or hollering at the individual, as this rapid
increase in already elevated heart rates can cause Sudden Sniffing
If your responsible for purchasing supplies for schools,
hospitals, counseling centers, youth serving organizations, clergy
offices, etc., please incorporate the following suggestions into your
regular purchasing orders.
correction fluid with strip-style correction tape.
from aerosol cleaners to pump-spray cleaners.
markers that are listed as Low-Odor as well as non-toxic.
spray air fresheners with solid air fresheners.
It would be impractical to eliminate all inhalants from
you purchasing lists; so whenever possible switch to a non-solvent-based
product. Keeping close track of inhalable products is essential, both
by monitoring the supplies and by securing their storage … which
includes the unfortunate inconvenience of limiting the access to
inhalable products like computer keyboard cleaner, engine degreaser,
whipped cream cans, spray paints, WD-40, butane, etc.
Youth Serving Professionals, Adults Mentoring Youth &
Non-profit youth organizations, youth sports teams,
churches, municipal youth service departments and other youth serving
organizations & individuals… whenever discussing inhalants remember that
they are toxin’s & poisons NOT drugs.
Remember to include inhalants in your discussions on fire
safety, as toxic and highly flammable products.
Please be mindful of the inhalable products sold in your store. Educate
your employees to watch for quantity purchases of these products,
especially by preteens. You might consider adopting a store policy to
limit the quantity of inhalable products that can be purchased at one