Jesuit is committed to helping our students make good choices. Jesuit High School is a member of the Northern California Community of Concern. “The Northern California Community of Concern” supports member school communities in the prevention of the use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs by our students.To this end, we provide an environment in which member schools share resources, work collaboratively, and develop partnerships in the areas of Parent/Staff Education, Peer Helping, and Curriculum Development” (NCCC Mission Statement)
Inhalant Use in Adolescents
Huffing, bagging, and sniffing are terms for inhalant use, a cheap, legal, and easy way that young people get high. Inhalant use has become a silent epidemic. Why? Parents are out of the loop. Children discuss it and practice it; adults stay in the dark. A recent survey by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission showed that 95% of parents believe their child has never abused inhalants. Yet, according to the 2005 National Institute on Drug Abuse “Monitoring the Future Survey,” almost one in five eighth graders has intentionally inhaled everyday office, school, and household products at the risk of brain damage and even death, Over two million young people used inhalants in 2004. Inhalant abuse, most common in the 10-12 age bracket, is also considered a “gateway drug,” a student’s first form of substance abuse before “graduating” to other drugs.
Inhalants are as close as the kitchen sink or your son’s classroom. Abusable products include: butane, propane, gasoline, Freon, degreasers, typewriter correction fluid, nitrous oxide, whipped cream, shoe polish, spray paint, toluene, paint thinner, chloroform, computer cleaning fluid, air freshener, cooking spray, “poppers,” “rush” and “locker room.” Young people in the 12-17 age group most commonly use glue or toluene, followed by gasoline or lighter fluid. Young adults in the 18-25 age bracket most commonly use nitrous oxide or “whippets.”
What young people don’t realize is that using any inhalant is like playing Russian Roulette: experimenters can die the 1st, 10th or even 100th time they use. Other effects of inhalant use include brain, respiratory, liver and kidney damage, short-term memory loss and hearing impairment.
Often parents are unwitting suppliers, failing to be suspicious when typewriter correction fluid, air freshener, gasoline or cleaning products disappear or show up in a child’s bedroom. There are, however, telltale signs of inhalant abuse:
Paint on hands, mouth or nose
Chemical breath odor
Red or runny eyes or noses
Spots or sores around the mouth
Drunk or dazed appearance
Anxiety, excitability, irritability
Nausea, loss of appetite
Chemically-soaked rags, socks or bags
Our Mission Statement reminds us that we (faculty, staff, administration and parents) are co-educators. Let us together educate our young people about the dangers of inhalants abuse before they educate themselves. For information on NIPAW activities or inhalant abuse, visit the National Inhalant website at www.inhalants.org.
We hope you find the following resources valuable.