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Talk to Children about Inhalants

Dear Teacher

(page 1 of 2)

My 8-year-old daughter recently told me some classmates were breathing felt-tip markers to get high. I said this was a stupid thing to do and could even kill them. What else should I say?  

Unfortunately, children are discovering that common household products are the easiest way to get high. Depending on the level of dosage, users can experience slight stimulation, feelings of less inhibition, loss of consciousness, and even death.

The National Inhalant Prevention Coalition (NIPC) says by the time a student reaches eighth grade, one in five will have used inhalants. According to the NIPC, education about inhalants should begin as early as age 4. Avoid relying on scare tactics or giving details on how to use inhalants. The NIPC suggests the follow for ages 7 to 10.

• Be a good role model when using cleaning products, solvents, glues, and other products. Let your kids see you reading labels and following instructions.

• Talk with your children about the term “toxic.”

• Discuss and discourage “body pollution” and introducing poisons into the body.     

• Stress the importance of oxygen to life, as inhaling many substances results in oxygen deprivation.


Dec 18, 2013 01:24 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

There was no mention of helium, which many people believe is harmless. As with any other inhalant, it displaces the oxygen in the blood, which in turn deprives the brain of oxygen. Please tell your kids not to inhale helium from a balloon and especially not directly from the tank. Hypoxia is not pretty, and can cause loss of consciousness, seizure-like twitching, vomiting, etc. Your brain needs a constant supply of oxygen to function and the inhaled helium (or any other inhalant) replaces the oxygen that is needed.

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