Huffing and inhalant use in the military
Ever heard of huffing?
It’s the practice of getting high on inhaling chemical gases. If you’ve never witnessed huffing, just think “disoriented”. Imagine kids inhaling nitrous oxide from balloons, for example and/or from whipped cream cans — called a “Whippit”. Now imagine ensuing silliness and stumbling lack of consciousness. Which can cause brain damage. And heart damage. And hearing loss.
Suffice it to say, huffing is not such a smart thing to do.
Sure, the nervous system is important…but some of today’s huffers – military men and women back from the war in Iraq – seem willing to trade longevity for the emotional volatility, hallucinations, and/or distortion of perception that huffing brings.
So just what are our troops huffing with?
Lacquers & Thinners
Hair spray Use only “pump”
Whipped cream spray
Dry erase markers
Whiteboard cleaning fluid
Rexograph (ditto) fluid
Inhalant use on the rise in the military and as random drug testing does not detect inhalants, abuse needs to be more widely discussed and criticized in the armed forces. The problem with all of this is that the available products are legal, cheap, and easy to camouflage. Not to mention that military dudes don’t normally rat on one another … they get people to join them. In fact, the military’s Health Behaviors of Our Troops has three chapters dedicated to substance abuse but not a mention of inhalants.
With my cousin getting ready to deploy for Iraq, I can’t wonder what kind of coping mechanism he’s going to chose when and if he returns. Will he be sniffing computer screen cleaners to get by? Correction fluid? Smelly markers?