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Everyday Items; Everyday Nightmares

Paint thinner, glue, and expo markets—all everyday household items and all commonly used as inhalants: dangerous mind-altering drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, among people aged 12 or older, 2.2 million people reported using inhalants in the past 12 months. In recognition of last week's National Poison Prevention Week, which is recognized every third week of March, this blog post will attempt to inform readers of the dangers associated with inhalants and poisons and raise awareness of prevention and treatment methods. 

What are Inhalants? KidsHealth defines inhalants as “things that are inhaled to give the user an immediate rush, or high.” Common inhalants include gasoline, hair spray, glue, and felt-tip markers. While most inhalants are not controlled substances, these everyday items can still be dangerous when used in an unsafe manner. In addition, inhalants come with many shocking and adverse side effects, including cognitive difficulties and chemical poisoning leading to brain, liver, and kidney damage. (BetterHealth Channel).

Fast Fact: Successive inhalations can cause “sudden sniffing death,” usually associated with abuse of gas or other chemical aerosols. 

What are Poisons? According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “more than 90% of all poison exposures happen in the home,” with most of these exposures coming from medicines, including cosmetics, cleaning substances, and even art supplies. In addition, many accidental poisonings involve children, who are often unaware of the dangers associated with them. 

Fast Fact: Most poisonings happen between 4 pm and 10 pm, with the late afternoon period specifically being known as “arsenic hour” by poison control workers. 

Prevention Measures: For caring adults, keep inhalants and poisons either out of reach of children or locked away. Child-resistant lids or other safety caps can be attached to commonly used household items like baby oils and automotive chemicals. 

Resources like the Drug Enforcement Agency and other trusted resources (like this blog!) can help you and your family stay informed on this topic. If a poisoning occurs, remain calm and act quickly. Call Poison Control at 800-222-1222. Call 911 immediately if there is trouble breathing, unusual drooling, or strange stains on their clothing. 

National Poison Prevention Week shows that everyday items can become a nightmare if we aren’t informed and don’t stay vigilant. SADD encourages us to make positive changes for ourselves and our communities. Check out more ways to get involved at

If you or your loved one has an inhalant addiction, recovery is possible, and treatments are available. The SAMHSA National Helpline (1-800-662-4357) offers free help from professionals for substance use treatment. Know that you are not alone in your addiction. 

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