Can You Shoot Methadone

Can You Shoot Methadone?

Just like any other opioid drug, the tendency for shooting methadone could be for the intensity of its effects and the rapid high that it elicits. However, methadone is known to have various mechanisms of action in comparison to the short-acting opioids making such mode of administration fatal.

In therapies for pain management, methadone is often administered via intramuscular injection which aims to give off more of its analgesic effects compared to oral administration. However, outside of such context, this mode of administration should be entirely avoided.

You may be prescribed methadone for the treatment of chronic to severe pain or in opioid treatment programs where it becomes an opioid agonist. It is effective not only for detox but also for maintenance.

The DEA reveals that methadone is now being sold in the market in the following forms:

  • Oral Concentrate at 10 mg per ml
  • Powder in 50, 100, or 500 mg per bottle
  • Oral Solution in 5 or 10 mg per ml
  • Injection of 10 mg per ml
  • Tablet in 5, 10 or 40 mg

In most cases in the U.S., the tablet form of methadone is prescribed by a licensed physician. This includes various ingredients including lactose monohydrate, microcrystalline cellulose, silicon dioxide and magnesium stearate. As both liquid and powder formulations are deemed purer, the tendency to shoot these forms of methadone is more likely.

What Are The Dangers of Shooting Methadone?

This mode of administration is known to create a rapid and intensified high. However, methadone features a high affinity to opioid receptors linked to the reduction of heart and breathing rates. A mere small amount of methadone shot through your system may lead to a sudden overdose that can be fatal even with a single day’s dose. In several cases, an increased vulnerability may lead to a compromise in health or even polysubstance abuse.

One other risk of methadone shooting is caused by the various chemicals in the drug that may clog your arteries and veins, cause arterial damages and bacterial infections. Lung, heart and several immunological diseases are not uncommon among IV methadone users with several risks to their other systems and organs. Also, communicable diseases like HIV, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and AIDS are more common in IV abuse populations. Take note that just a single use of one dirty needle and other shared paraphernalia can cause immense changes in your life.

How to Recognize an Addiction to Methadone?

You may once be a healthy and happy individual but methadone addiction can quickly turn you into a depressed and dependent person. If only you would educate yourself about the signs of methadone addiction, you can avoid becoming a methadone addict and help a loved one overcome addiction as well.

You may worry when your behavior dramatically changes particularly when you have just begun or increased your dose of methadone. Other telltale signs of a methadone addiction include:

  • Increased tolerance—Once a methadone user has developed drug tolerance that is they need higher doses of the drug to obtain previous effects, then an addiction may have developed. This is commonly the first sign to watch out for although it is not necessarily a surefire way to tell if it is an addiction.
  • The appearance of withdrawal symptoms—If you have fallen into the habit of using methadone and stopped methadone use suddenly, you could experience a range of withdrawal symptoms from cramps and insomnia to depression.
  • Prioritizing methadone—If you find yourself choosing methadone over your family and other social responsibilities then you could be an addict.
How Long Does 2mg Suboxone Block Opiates

How Long Does It Take To Withdraw From Opiates?

You are probably thinking about how you will be able to manage withdrawal symptoms. It is certainly not easy, but it is definitely possible. If this sounds like you, just remember never to go cold turkey on opiates as this can trigger intense and serious withdrawal symptoms.

Once you decide to quit your use of opiates, you should first consult with a medical professional before deciding when, how, and why you will quit opiate use. Your doctor will be able to recommend several methods for quitting the illicit drug. However, there are already several risky and inefficient methods.

Some of the common reasons why you would want to quit opiate use.

  • The effects of the drug have decreased significantly.
  • Pain tolerance is increasing.
  • Evidence of illicit or unsafe behaviors.
  • Negative impact on your health, home, and work life.
  • Severe adverse effects that you can no longer manage.

Regardless of your own reasons, it is highly advised that you do not stop using opiates all of a sudden.

You will not be able to quit opiate drugs overnight as this may cause severe withdrawal symptoms and serious complications on your health. Also, the long-term abuse of prescription drugs may virtually affect all of the systems in your body. Hence, cutting off the supply of the drug may lead to more abrupt lethal symptoms including:

  • Extreme cravings
  • Diarrhea
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Agitation or severely negative moods
  • Body aches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Yawning
  • Nausea
  • ●    Vomiting
  • Goosebumps and chills

For a person more established with narcotic addiction, however, the experience can be severely unpleasant.

Withdrawal from opioids can last hours, days or even weeks. It basically depends on the amount and duration of drug use. After the initial symptoms have subsided, the physical, as well as mental discomforts can go on for a few more weeks.

It is, therefore, best to consult your doctor when you decide to stop opiate use. Often, your doctor will recommend a program to treat opiate addiction, which mostly involves 4 steps.

  1. Opiate detox that is monitored and assisted by medical professionals. This can free your system from the substance.
  2. Opiate replacement therapy with the use of medications like methadone and buprenorphine to trick your system into thinking the abused drug is still in your body.
  3. A therapist that will provide professional treatment from addiction.
  4. Support groups for opiate addiction where you can interact with others that are going through similar struggles.

Remember that thousands of people have overcome their addiction from illicit drugs and prescribed painkillers including opiates.

However, in order for a treatment program to be effective, thorough, and safe, you should do it gradually. With significant progress and assistance from a medical team, you will successfully avoid having to go through most if not all of the negative effects of withdrawing from drug use.


How Long Does 2mg Suboxone Block Opiates?

The level of Suboxone inside your body and the time between doses are two important factors in determining how long suboxone can block opiates. Often, people ask how accurately long does suboxone block opiates?

In an estimate:

  • Suboxone blocks opiates 6 to 9 days in maintenance users.
  • Suboxone blocks opiates 3 to 6 days of low dose maintenance users. That is, 2-4mg.
  • Suboxone blocks opiates 2 to 4 days in single time users.

Doctors often prescribe Suboxone for the treatment of opiate addiction.

Suboxone contains both naloxones that can block opiates and buprenorphine which is an opioid. When used according to a prescription, buprenorphine is helpful in eliminating the “high” feeling you get from opiates.

Buprenorphine is able to block the euphoria you can get from opiates by binding itself to the exact receptors that opiates took over in your brain. As such, you will not be able to feel the “high” even if you take in Oxycontin, morphine, heroin, and other opiates.

Although buprenorphine is not clinically related to depression, this can still affect your mood. Buprenorphine is able to make you feel well as you are detoxing from an addiction to opiates.

Naloxone was added to Suboxone to make users less likely to abuse the drug.

In every 4 counts of buprenorphine in Suboxone is 1 count of naloxone. The formula helps to create the “ceiling effect” sans creating withdrawal symptoms after using the drugs for an extended period of time. To explain, moderate doses of buprenorphine can make its euphoric effects reach a plateau and you cease to increase with high levels creating the “ceiling effect.”

In addition, higher levels of Suboxone may trigger withdrawal symptoms. As such, buprenorphine has a potential for a lower risk of abusing and getting addicted to opiates as well as experiencing the adverse effects unlike taking full opioid agonists. DEA also determined Suboxone as a drug of relatively low potential for abuse and addiction or a Schedule III drug.

Since one of the active ingredients used in creating Suboxone is an opioid (buprenorphine), a side effect of taking it is euphoria.

Although the maximum effects of this opioid are less than that of the full agonists like methadone and heroin, those who abuse drugs have found a way to get high using suboxone. They often crush the sublingual tablets and snort or inject it to achieve similar effects as heroin and morphine. Moreover, abusing buprenorphine with methadone increases the effects of the two.

If you misuse Suboxone either by crushing, snorting or injecting the drug, it is possible to become addicted on Suboxone. On the other hand, the naloxone in the drug safeguards against drug abuse. However, if you misuse Suboxone, naloxone can trigger withdrawal symptoms while reversing the effects of euphoria.


How Long Are Opiates Detectable In Urine

How Long Are Opiates Detectable In Urine?

One of the oldest types of drugs is opiates. An opiate is usually derived from an exudate of opium poppy.

  • A detection of codeine or morphine in the laboratory may be performed through immunoassay whereas confirmation is made using mass spectrometry or gas chromatography.
  • The initial laboratory detection limits 300 ng per ml and a sensitivity of 20 ng per ml.
  • Heroin may be detected around 24 to 48 hours after dosing and just a little bit longer for codeine.
  • A positive may be confirmed using the GC or MS and a 300 ng per ml cutoff level.

For many centuries, opiates have been used mainly for pain relief.

The principal alkaloid in opium is morphine. Its name morphine was taken from the name Morpheus or the Greek god of dreams. The effects of opium to one’s psychology have long been known by ancient Sumerians. However, the first reference to opium poppy was noted in the 3rd century B.C.

Like other drugs, the chemistry of morphine has been experimented extensively by modern chemistry which leads to a more potent and more addictive form of opioids. Moreover, since the hypodermic needle was invented, abuse of morphine also increased.

Other events that contributed to the increase in opioid abuse was noted in the late 1800s with Chinese workers smoking opium, during the Civil War where morphine was administered to casualties and an apparent lack of regulation before the 20th century. In addition, during the Civil War, an extremely potent opioid known as heroin was synthesized which results in a number of addicted Civil War soldiers.

An opioid is a term used to describe the huge chemistry of exogenous substances that bind to receptor sites, all producing agonistic effects.

Opioids have similar properties with naturally present peptides like enkephalins and endorphins. It targets certain receptor sites that cause effects which have been blocked using opioid antagonist drugs like naltrexone and naloxone that bind to receptors and displace opioids in the process. Opioids are also useful as antidotes for opioid overdose.

Heroin, codeine, morphine, and other similar synthetic opioid analogs create a great impact on your central nervous system as well as your bowels. The effects vary and may include analgesia, respiratory depression, drowsiness, decreased gastrointestinal motility and changes in mood. Your pupils may also appear constricted and may not be stimulated by light.

One of the most abused and highly addictive opioids is heroin which is synthesized using morphine through acetylation to morphine. Once inserted into your body intravenously, the drug may quickly be diacetylated into morphine and is metabolized more by your liver to urinary metabolites like codeine, which is generally taken orally.

Opioid addicts prefer to use heroin.

Methadone is a synthesized opioid with agonistic actions. On the contrary, it may have weaker effects on your mood. Opioids are also used as maintenance drugs by opioid addicts and for those who prefer or require to go the long route, naltrexone as in Trexan may be useful as an antagonistic for the long-term.


pediatric bipolar

Medication Challenges for Pediatric Bipolar: Discovering Effective Medication without Research

Although there are research studies designed to study the effectiveness of mood stabilizers for adults with bipolar disorder, there are no studies designed specifically for children. With this in mind, psychiatrists need to infer which adult medications may be effective for children and at which dose from studying the pharmacological research studies in adults.

Medications are tried and discontinued based on how well the child responds to the medication rather than on baseline research studies utilizing children as the subjects. This in and of itself is a frustrating and long journey for families. Months can be spent experimenting with different medications before a medication is found that is effective.

Setting the Medication Dosage

Once a medication is found effective, the problems are not over. The next challenge is setting the medication dosage. Again, this can take months of readjusting the dosage before an effective dose is found. Even once a dose is found, it may not be effective for very long because children are growing and their body mass is constantly fluctuating.

Psychiatrists are often very conservative with raising the dosage because of the unknown side effects of some of these medications on children. Again, with adult pharmacological studies, side effects are documented and are posted with the medication description. The side effects of these medications on children are unknown.

Family members, teachers, and medical professionals need to constantly monitor bipolar children for any changes in behavior that might suggest that the children have outgrown their current dosage. Unfortunately, bipolar behavior can spiral quickly out of control before the cause is identified as a decrease in effectiveness of the medication.

Over-Sedating is Not the Answer

Another concern with children is that the doses need to be carefully balanced so that the medication is maximally effective without the side effect of drowsiness. Children diagnosed with bipolar disorder need to be alert in school and able to function at an optimal level. Over-sedating a child is not the answer.

Children need to be able to interact with their peers and work through the daily challenges of their emotions. Sedating the child to keep the child from over-reacting to the stimulation around him/her will not help the child to learn to function in society.

However, children with bipolar do have difficulty with sleep patterns and may be over tired from time to time. If this occurs, allow the child a quiet place to rest. When the child awakes, allow the child to continue with his/her classroom activities.

Hormone Surges and Medication Dosage

Another concern when working with medication and children is the effect of hormone surges as the child approaches puberty. Hormones can exacerbate a child’s bipolar condition. Careful attention needs to be paid to extreme fluctuations in behavior as the child approaches puberty. This might also indicate the need for an increase in the dosage of medication.

Managing medication for pediatric bipolar disorder is an on-going challenge. Fluctuations in body mass and hormones can make an effective medication ineffective very quickly. Close observation by all involved in the child’s care is critical to catching a potential medication problem early.

manic symptoms

Manic Symptoms in Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder marked by intense shifts in a person’s mood. Formerly called manic-depression, bipolar disorder can affect many aspects of a person’s life, including their sleeping and eating habits, their day-to-day functioning, their relationships, and even their job and financial situation. While the hopelessness of depression may cause patients to seek treatment, patients who experience symptoms of mania may be unable to recognize their illness.

What Is Mania?

A person who is manic will experience a dramatic upswing in their mood and feeling of well-being. They may feel more outgoing than usual, need less sleep, and feel capable of taking on many ambitious projects. Some common manic symptoms are:

  • racing thoughts, which may cause the person to speak more quickly than usual
  • becoming very easily distracted and having many ideas on the go
  • feeling restless and needing much less sleep than usual
  • having delusions of grandeur or inflated confidence about their abilities
  • impulsive, risky behaviour, such as increased sexual activity, driving too fast, making impulsive investments or spending a lot of money on shopping sprees
  • severe manic episodes can also include psychotic symptoms such as seeing or hearing things that aren’t there, or false beliefs like being famous or having magical powers

Bipolar disorder symptoms can drastically affect a person’s life, and can sometimes be so severe that the patient requires immediate inpatient care. There are varying degrees of severity within bipolar disorder, and not every patient will experience the same symptoms. Full-blown mania is often a symptom of Bipolar 1 disorder.

Manic Symptoms Are Not Always Enjoyable

While bipolar patients are frequently portrayed as being overly happy and confident, this is not always the case. Mania can also manifest itself as extreme irritability. Some people with bipolar disorder also experience mixed episodes, which include symptoms of both depression and mania at the same time.

What Is Hypomania?

Hypomania is a less extreme expression of mania which does not include psychotic features like hallucinations and delusions. Patients experiencing hypomania may feel that they have more energy than usual, and may feel more productive. Hypomania does not require emergency care, but without treatment a patient’s symptoms may escalate into mania, or tumble into depression. Hypomania is often a symptom of Bipolar 2 disorder, or of cyclothymia. Because hypomanic patients are often high-functioning, it can be difficult for them to recognize their behaviours as symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Seeking Treatment

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness. Manic symptoms can not only wreak havoc in a patient’s life, but can also put them at risk for seriously harming themselves. Fortunately there is treatment available to help bipolar patients manage their illness. Anyone who is concerned that they or a loved one may be experiencing manic symptoms should talk to their doctor for further investigation of their symptoms.

managing bipolar disorder

Management of Bipolar Disorder: Find strategies to help cope with symptoms on a daily basis.

The treatment for Bipolar Disorder often includes a combination of medication and psychotherapy. However, it is important for the patient to take responsibility for his recovery and to find strategies that will allow him to manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder on a daily basis. Although Bipolar Disorder can be different in each person, there are some common ways in which people can better control their illness.

Learn About the Disorder

Become an expert in the illness: what are the major symptoms, what treatments are available, how it impacts daily life. Find out as much as you can by reading books and articles. Keep up with medical research and advances in the treatment of bipolar disorder. Understand medications, learn what medications are available and read package inserts for any medications you are taking to learn about side effects, interactions with other medications and what to expect from the medication.

Track Your Moods

Understanding and tracking your own moods will help you to understand the triggers that may bring on an acute episode of either mania or depression. There may be certain times of the year or certain situations that will start an episode. Learning these triggers can help you to reach out for support or more intensive treatment during these periods. offers useful mood charts and mood questionnaires to help you with this.

Join a Support Group

Check with your local mental health center or hospital and ask about support groups in your area. Support groups can provide you with a way to share experiences and give you the emotional support you may need. Support groups are also a way of sharing coping strategies to find out what has worked for other people.

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance can also provide information on support groups in your area.

Stay Away From Alcohol and Illicit Substances

Alcohol and some illicit substances (those that are mind or mood altering) can interfere with your current treatment. They can alter your emotional balance and can interact with your current medication. Although they are sometimes used as a way of “self-medicating” they do not help to manage symptoms correctly and can send you into depression or trigger mania.

Create an Emergency Plan

Keep the number to a crisis center in your wallet. Talk with friends and relatives about symptoms of acute episodes and what they can do to help you in that situation. Remember that you can go to a hospital emergency room for treatment when necessary. Discuss signs with loved ones, such as not sleeping or high emotions and let them know what they can do to help during these times.

Keep a Journal

Keep track of your moods, your medications and any problems you may have. This journal will help you talk with your physician and determine if changes in medication should be made. Include stressful situations, sleeping patterns and triggers you may have noticed.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Medications for bipolar disorder often cause weight gain. Eating right cannot only help you feel better physically; it can help to reduce the chances of gaining weight. Avoiding caffeine or limiting sugar helps some people to feel better.

Understand Your Medication

Learn about side effects and be aware of what side effects warrant contacting your physician, which require immediate medical attention and which should disappear within a week or two. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor about any interactions with other medications, even over-the-counter medications.

Although Bipolar Disorder is difficult to live with, there are many successful people that have battled the symptoms and have managed to cope with daily struggles and succeed. It is hard work, but it can be done.

bipolar disorder

Living With a Mood Disorder – Bipolar Disorder: Facts About Manic Depression Symptoms and Treatments

The diagnosis of a mental health issue like bipolar disorder may be met with many reactions. The patient may be saddened by the news; they may also feel scared, uncertain of what the future holds as a Bipolar Disorder sufferer. Some may even feel a sense of relief because they finally have a diagnosis. Whatever the reaction, the next step involves developing an understanding of the illness so that it can be treated.

Definition of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder is a serious mental illness. It used to be known as Manic Depressive Disorder or Manic Depression. Bipolar Disorder involves swings in mood from mania to depression. Mania is characterized by energetic, talkative, reckless and restless states. These can spiral into feelings of irritation,confusion,anger, and feelings of being trapped. Periods of mania can result in impulsive and risky behavior.

Depression is defined by periods of sadness, crying, feelings of worthlessness, loss of energy, loss of enjoyment and sleep problems. These mood swings can last months, even years or be very frequent and dramatic. Sometimes patients manages to function well with the disorder because the manic swings can be productive. The danger comes when symptoms worsen because of risk taking behavior associated with mania and the thoughts of self-harm or suicide that often come with depression.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Unpredictable and dramatic mood swings are the primary symptom of bipolar disorder. The person with the disorder may display symptoms of mania which in addition to those already stated may include: excessive happiness,excitement,less need for sleep, high sex drive and making grand and unattainable plans.

The person may also show these additional signs of depression: anxiety, changes in appetite, weight gain or loss, and difficulty making decisions.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

In Bipolar type one the affected individual has had at least one manic episode in their life. In Bipolar type two moods cycle between high and low but the highs never reach full mania. In the rapid cycling type of bipolar disorder experiences four or more episodes of depression or mania in a year.

Mixed Bipolar patients experience highs and lows simultaneously or in rapid sequence. Cycothymia is a milder mood disorder with symptoms that are less severe than full blown Bipolar Disorder.

Treatment of Bipolar

Often, Bipolar Disorder is treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Anti-psychotic medications are often used to treat both depressive and manic symptoms. Mood stabilizers are often used as well. Lithium is often used to treat both types of mood swings. Anti-convulsion medications can also be used to stabilize depression. The disorder is manageable with the correct treatment and support.

drug abuse through the ages

Drug Abuse Through the Ages – High Society at Wellcome Collection

The United Nations recently estimated that the illicit drug trade is worth at least $320 billion per annum (£200bn). It looks as if society is engaged on an all time ‘high’, not just on drugs, but on tea, coffee and alcohol, mood-altering substances which we take for granted.

Mind-Altering Drugs in History and Culture

High Society is curated by author/historian Mike Jay, together with Caroline Fisher and Emily Sargent of the Wellcome Collection.

The exhibition charts the history of drugs and their plant origins; their use as medicines; and how mind-altering substances, such as ecstasy (MDMA), have been synthetically recreated and marketed.

The use of psychoactive substances is not a new phenomenon; the ancient Egyptians used poppy tinctures and the Victorians had their cocaine eye drops. Sherlock Holmes had his opium, and it is said that Alice’s bizarre adventures in Wonderland show the effects of drug abuse.

High Society presents more than two hundred items including drawings, paintings, sculptures, books and manuscripts. The display also features specially commissioned installations including a recreation of the Joshua Light Show (Joshua White/Seth Kirby). White is well-known for the psychedelic backdrops he created for Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.

High Society – Layout of the Exhibition

High Society is set out in six clearly delineated sections:

  • A Universal Impulse explores society’s attitude to drugs. For example, a substance might be regarded as a public health problem in one country, but may be perfectly acceptable elsewhere.
  • From Apothecary to Laboratory looks at drugs, such as cocaine, opium, heroin and cannabis, which are derived from plants and used as medicines throughout history. Centuries ago opium was recognised as an effective painkiller and remains the main ingredient in many of today’s prescriptions. The exhibition looks at both the legal, and illegal, uses of opium, as well as the signs and symptoms of abuse, as recorded by numerous artists. De Historia Stirpivm, by Leonhard Fuchs (Basel, 1542), is a herbal, written in Latin, in which the author describes each plant in detail. The page shows a cannabis plant.
  • Self-experimentation explains how the majority of medicines are tested on animals and their affects proven in a laboratory. However, the affects of recreational drugs can only be described by their users. In the 19th Century many new drugs were discovered through self-experimentation and there was a fine line between entertainment and scientific research! The exhibition features the manuscript Kubla Khan, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (ca. 1797-1804). Coleridge was known to use opium, usually in the form of laudanum, and claimed to have written this poem while under the influence of the drug.
  • Collective Intoxication demonstrates how drug use, and abuse, is so often a communal activity. 420 Day at the University of Colorado, (Mark Leffingwell), shows a mass ‘smoke-in’ as part of 4:20 celebrations. Celebrated annually on 20th April, 4:20 day is a counter-culture holiday closely linked to the campaign to legalise cannabis.
  • The Drugs Trade relates how the opium trade played a major part in the British Empire’s rise during the 19th Century.
  • A Sin, a Crime, a Vice or a Disease? This question was asked as long ago as 1884 by Dr. Norman Kerr. Defining the nature of drug abuse has always been problematic, as has deciding how to deal with it. High Society looks at the situation in the UK where substance abusers tend to be medicalised and substances are subject to a variety of legal statuses.

The exhibition concludes that however substance abuse is treated, little can be done to control the market for illegal narcotics.

High Society – Exhibition Catalogue

High Society is accompanied by a 192-page catalogue entitled High Society Mind-altering Drugs in History and Culture. Written by Mike Jay, and featuring150 colour illustrations, the publication provides a detailed history of mind-altering drugs around the world. (ISBN 978 0 500 251720, Thames & Hudson Ltd.)

High Society will be open until 27th February 2018 and further information is available from the Wellcome Collection.

inhalant drugs

The Effects and Abuse of Inhalant Drugs

Inhalants are chemical substances that are typically inhaled through the nose and mouth to create mind-altering effects. The chemicals are classified as inhalants due to the fact that other routes of administration are rarely used, unlike other abused substances which often have several methods of consumption.

Some inhalants are used for medical purposes, most notably nitrous oxide, which is used as a dental anaesthetic. Other inhalants are found in ordinary household products that are not usually considered drugs since inhaling is not intended or encouraged. Children and young adults abuse inhalants more than any other demographic. The substances are easy to access and most often free or inexpensive.

Inhalant Drugs Explained

Inhalant drugs include substances found in products such as:

  • paint thinner
  • gasoline
  • correction fluid
  • glue
  • aerosol sprays such as hair spray or vegetable oil spray
  • spray paint
  • lighter fluid

Medical anaesthetics such as ether, chloroform and nitrous oxide are classified as inhalant drugs. However, the drugs are usually more difficult for young people to obtain. One exception is nitrous oxide, which can be inhaled from an aerosol whipped cream dispenser. New users typically begin inhaling products like glue or spray paint, then develop habits for substances like gasoline, lighter fluid and nitrous oxide. Inhalant abuse can begin as young as 12 years old and last through adulthood. Children often abuse inhalants recreationally, sometimes as a cure for boredom. As with illicit drugs, recreational use morphs into dependence and addiction.

Administration of Inhalant Drugs

Inhalants can be absorbed in the nose and mouth in a variety of ways. The user may sniff, or “huff,” the fumes from a container. Aerosol substances may be sprayed directly into the nose or mouth or sprayed into a paper bag which is placed over the nose and mouth. Rags or cloth materials can be soaked in liquid substances and placed in the mouth. The fumes are immediately absorbed by the lungs and resemble the fast and intense effects of intravenous injection. The drugs peak so quickly that the effects only last a few minutes. This prompts users to sniff multiple times over several hours to achieve a longer lasting high.

Side Effects of Inhalant Drugs

Inhalants displace air in the lungs causing hypoxia, a condition that deprives the body of oxygen. Hypoxia can damage cells throughout the body, and brain cells are especially sensitive to the effects. Different regions of the brain can be permanently damaged leading to memory loss or the loss of the ability to speak. Long-term abuse can also damage nerve fibers which may affect the users ability to walk or talk. Short-term side effects of inhaling include:

  • nausea or vomiting
  • slurred speech
  • loss of motor skills
  • hearing loss
  • muscle spasms
  • liver or kidney damage
  • blood oxygen depletion

Inhaling chemicals from solvents or aerosol sprays can induce sudden heart failure within a matter of minutes. This is known as “sudden sniffing death.” Death can occur after only one use to a user who has never previously inhaled chemicals. Since oxygen is displaced in the lungs after inhaling, a user may lose consciousness and stop breathing, resulting in death by suffocation. Death from inhaling can happen so rapidly that users, or individuals with the users, may not be able to reach help.

Protecting Children from Inhalant Abuse

Six to eight percent of high school students reported using inhalants within the previous year. The percentages of use among this age group continue to rise. The perception of risk has declined and continues to spark the interest of young adults. Many children and teenagers believe inhalants are not as dangerous as drugs such as cocaine or heroin since inhalants are sold in stores and found in most homes. Restrictions have been put in place to prohibit individuals under age 18 from purchasing products like correction fluid or spray paint. However, if these items are available in the home, children have no restriction to access. Dangerous items should always remain out of reach of children and teenagers. Decreasing use of inhalants in the home is the easiest way to decrease overall use of inhalants in young populations.