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INHALANTS. The Invisible Threat. What SDFSCA Coordinators Need to Know. Sharyl Adams Chesterfield County Youth Planning and Development

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the invisible threat


The Invisible Threat

What SDFSCA Coordinators

Need to Know

Sharyl Adams Chesterfield County Youth Planning and Development

Mary Lib Morgan Chesterfield County Public Schools

test your awareness
Test Your Awareness

8th grade past 30-day use in Virginia

Virginia 2005 Community Youth Survey

  • Alcohol a. 8%
  • Cigarettes b. 19%
  • Marijuana c. 9%
  • Inhalants d. 6%
va compared to national
VA Compared to National

Past 30-day Use

2005 VA Community Youth Survey

2005 Monitoring the Future Survey

increased risk
Increased Risk

Youth who had used an inhalant in the past year were:

  • 3 times more likely to have used marijuana
  • 7 times more likely to have used hallucinogens
  • 8 times more likely to have used cocaine
  • 2 times more likely to have used heroin
  • 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health
what is inhalant abuse
What Is Inhalant Abuse?
  • Inhalant abuse is the deliberate concentration and breathing of fumes, vapors or gases to get high.
why inhalants



Perception of safety

Quick acting

Short-lived effects

Easy to use

Easy to conceal

Hard to detect

Social activity

Why Inhalants?
immediate effects of inhalants



Impaired coordination

Slurred speech


Distorts senses






Rapid pulse

Immediate Effects of Inhalants
methods of inhalant abuse
Methods of Inhalant Abuse
  • Huffing
  • Sniffing
  • Bagging
  • Ballooning
internet examples
Internet Examples
  • Dusting
  • Huffing
  • AXE body spray
immediate dangers from abuse
Immediate Dangers from Abuse
  • Passing out
  • Burns
  • Frostbite
  • Injuries
  • Death
long term effects
Long-term Effects
  • Memory loss
  • Impaired vision
  • Hearing loss
  • Coordination deficits
  • Slurred speech
  • Reduced lung function
  • Muscle weakness
  • Bone marrow damage
  • Depression
  • Dementia
potential causes of death
Potential Causes of Death
  • Suffocation
  • Asphyxiation
  • Aspiration (choking on vomit)
  • Choking on small plastic bags accidentally inhaled
  • Fire or explosion
  • Fatal injury while under the influence
  • Sudden Sniffing Death
sudden sniffing death
Sudden Sniffing Death





what to do if you find a student huffing
What to Do If You Find a Student Huffing
  • Remain calm and keep the student calm.
  • Remove any source of chemicals from around the nose or mouth.
  • If student is unconscious, call 911. Turn on side to prevent aspiration of vomit.
  • If not breathing, administer CPR.
  • Do not leave the student alone.
  • Contact the administrator in charge and the school nurse.
  • Ventilate the area.
  • Check area for products and paraphernalia and save.
  • Contact poison center.
signs of use
Signs of Use
  • Products and/or Paraphernalia
    • Plastic bags with paint or chemical stains or smell
    • Large quantities of products
    • Empty product containers
    • Rags, clothes, cotton balls with chemical odor
    • Aerosols with loose tops
signs of use1
Signs of Use
  • Physical Symptoms
    • Disorientation or giddiness
    • Excitability or volatility
    • Paint or chemical stains on face or hands
    • Chemical odor on breath or clothing
    • Red, pimply rash around nose or mouth
    • Slurred speech
    • Sore tongue
    • Increase in quantity and intensity of headaches
special areas of concern in school setting
Special Areas of Concern in School Setting
  • Bathrooms
  • Locker rooms
  • Kitchens
  • Technology education classrooms
  • Art classroom
  • Science labs
  • Custodial closets
  • School grounds
guidelines for selecting materials
Guidelines for Selecting Materials
  • Don’t use materials that
    • Talk about “high” or “head rush”
    • Identify specific products
    • Show how products are misused
  • DO use materials that
    • Use appropriate vocabulary – poisons, body pollutants, fire hazards
    • Stress using products as intended
example of what to avoid
Example of What to Avoid
  • “Huffing: The Latest Facts About Inhalant Abuse”
  • Product Awards Video Librarian 3.5 stars out of 4 stars
  • American Library Association (ALA) Notable Children's Video
  • List Grades: 5 - 9
school system policy
School System Policy
  • Inhalants included in drug policy?
  • Language consistent with language about other substances of abuse?
primary goals of student curriculum
Primary Goals of Student Curriculum
  • To teach
    • potential dangers of inhalable products
    • importance of using products safely
    • structures and functions of brain
    • impact of brain health on body functions
    • adverse effects of inhalants on brain and body
targeted approaches
Targeted Approaches
  • Naïve vs. Knowledgeable
  • K-5
    • Naïve
    • Inhalants taught in context of poisons, fire hazards and body pollution
targeted approaches1
Targeted Approaches
  • Grades 6-8
    • Some naïve, some knowledgeable. Explore what they already know.
    • You may be connecting inhalants with substance abuse here
    • Substitute “experiencing toxic effects” for “getting high”
    • Emphasize poisons’ rapid, unfiltered path to brain
    • Strengthen refusal skills
possible units of study
Possible Units of Study
  • Poisons
  • Fire safety
  • Environment
  • Personal health and safety
  • First aid
  • Brain science
  • Decision making and problem solving
  • Substance abuse prevention
consistency counts
Consistency Counts

Share the responsibility of

teaching about inhalants.

Use the same vocabulary.

Send the same message.

Students can and should hear this message multiple times from multiple people in multiple settings.

sample interactive lesson
Sample Interactive Lesson
  • FAST FACTS™ on the Brain, Oxygen and Toxic Substances

Sample lesson - grades 6-8

virginia inhalant abuse prevention coalition
Virginia Inhalant Abuse PreventionCoalition

Marta Szuba, Chair


Next meeting: May 14, 10:30 am

American Lung Association of Virginia

9221 Forest Hill Avenue

Richmond, VA 23235

additional resources
Additional Resources

Interactive Parent Training Module

National Inhalant Abuse Prevention Coalition

Alliance for Consumer Education

presenter contact information
Presenter Contact Information

Sharyl Adams


Mary Lib Morgan