Sniffing or huffing inhalants is horribly debilitating and damaging. Unfortunately, these substances are so common and numerous that there is no way to keep them away from young people. Giving young people the real information about how harmful these chemicals are is the best way to prevent their abuse. In this case, knowledge really is power.
If you suspect someone you know may have a problem with inhalants, approach the person calmly. Find a quiet time when the person seems to be sober. Be honest and straightforward, but not accusatory. Your goal in this situation would be to get the person into treatment, not to express your own disappointment or anger.
If you are worried about inhalant abuse in someone you care about, here are some signs to look for:
If you discover someone sniffing of huffing inhalants, try not to surprise him or her. Keep an eye on the situation for a few moments so that you do not catch the person "in the act." Remember, one of the main triggers for Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome is a surprise, such as being caught using.
Here are some important steps to follow when you are with someone who you believe is under the influence of inhalants.
An inhalant abuser needs professional help. Here are a few sources for treatment programs:
National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Service
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration
(U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)
National Inhalant Prevention Coalition
Factline on Inhalants