March 14th-20th, 2010 marks National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week (NIPAW). Every year, this week represents an opportunity to educate people about the dangers of inhalant abuse while supporting those who have been affected. Countless people are unaware of the dangers and fatalities associated with abusing household items for the purposes of “getting high”.
In a national survey, 22.3 million Americans claimed to have used inhalants at least once. This year is particularly significant as studies show inhalant abuse is on the rise. According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, one in five minors have abused inhalants prior to reaching 8th grade! Often the trend continues silently because parents and relatives are unfamiliar with the symptoms that signal abuse.
Short term inhalant abuse can result in dizziness, loss of consciousness, severe mood swings, and headaches. Prolonged use can cause liver and kidney malfunctioning, loss of hearing, and irreparable central nervous system damage. Some people even die from a cardiac seizure, known as Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome, which can occur on the 1st or 100th misuse. For more information on effects of inhalant abuse, please click here.
What can you do?
During NIPAW, start a conversation at work or talk to a friend about inhalant abuse. In this week many communities around the nation hold special programs or write articles to raise awareness about inhalant abuse prevention. If you are planning an event, please contact me as we can add it to our blog and/or our community message board.
You can make a difference in your community and potentially save a life by educating yourself about this pressing issue! Please visit http://www.inhalant.org/ to check out our electronic Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit and for more information on the issue.
 Inhalants - Special Report, Partnership for a Drug-Free America™, 2006