Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Nitrous Oxide Abuse

It is easy to lose sight of the real dangers of inhalant abuse with all our focus on the growing problems of illicit and licit drug abuse so obviously going on around us. Abuse of inhalants can be a cause of death in young people. We need to keep that in mind and make certain that it gets mentioned in our efforts to keep young people drug-free, alive and well.

“A study by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America indicated that nearly 4 of every 10 parents are not aware of the risks of inhalant abuse. Information on this important topic needs to be distributed both via the media and during parent programs in the schools.”

I mention this because we were recently reminded of the abuse potential and the potential for harm with nitrous oxide abuse.

“…abuse of nitrous oxide is no laughing matter.”

“[However] few students (in this study) were aware of the potential acute or chronic ill effects from the use of nitrous oxide”

Talk about your “fun” intoxicant: “Inhaling nitrous oxide produces a brief euphoric "high" caused by oxygen deprivation.”

“Asphyxiation takes place when nitrous oxide depletes the oxygen supply to the body because too much of the inhalant is in the lungs. If inhalation continues, a person will die…”

As the article ends:

“While there is no easy solution to the problem of drug experimentation among youth, encouraging and assisting parents to become informed participants in raising drug-free children is an excellent beginning.

Let's make sure our community and schools continue to allocate sufficient resources -- financial, personnel and curricular -- to achieving this goal.”

"Informed participants" is a very important aspect, as is ensuring broad prevention programming. Substance abuse is not a focused problem and programming to prevent it must be broad-based.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I knew a great guy in college who stole nitrous oxide cannisters from the psychology department and used them to get high. Tragically, he died that way. This was 35 years ago at an ivy league school.