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Inhalant Usage
February 2002

Q. I am 16 years old and I've used inhalants over five times in my life. I was wondering if this amount of usage greatly depletes my cognitive abilities or lowers my intelligence to a vast degree. I recently read the effects of such substances and want to know if this is going to affect me greatly.

A. "Inhalants" refers to any number of substances that exist as a gas or vapor that can be breathed with the intention of getting "high". These substances are commonly found in household products such as paints, cleaning agents, cooking sprays, and many others. Estimates are that over 10 million Americans have tried these once or more, often starting at very young ages. The use of any such substance has both immediate and long-term dangers. Consequences of immediate use include disturbing the heart rhythm and lowering oxygen levels; many deaths have occurred. Repeated use can damage the liver and kidneys. Your doctor or a school counselor can refer you for help in this matter before more serious results occur.



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