A 12 year old in the Emergency Room with frostbite..... A 14 year old admitted to the medical center with multiple injuries after jumping from a balcony….. A 13 year old girl in the Pediatric Clinic with chronic headaches…. A 21 year old dead from a cardiac arrest. What do they all have in common? INHALANT ABUSE. Would you recognize the symptoms?
There are an alarming number of youths inhaling chemicals for euphoric purposes. Previously considered a drug of adolescents, inhalants are being used increasingly by preteen age children, some as young as 5 and 6. Cheap and abundant, inhalants are an easy way for youths to "get high". These substances are physically and psychologically addicting and can cause death.
Nurses need to be able to recognize the signs of inhalant abuse. This is especially important, because most abusers seek help for medical or psychological problems, without mentioning the source of the problemsInhalants.