Registered: 1211565657 Posts: 6
Reply with quote
My 11-year old son recently admitted to us he's abusing aerosol inhalants. I was shocked by his story, but its true. He's had the classic "huffers mouth" for about 6 months now, although we thought it was just dry chapped lips. Also, his behavior has been erratic the last several months.
He told us he likes to sniff air freshners. We found a roll of burning toilet paper in the back yard last weekend, thought at first he was playing with fire, which is bad enough, but then the full story came out. apparently he likes to spray a roll of toilet paper with air freshner, light it, then breathe the fumes. He concentrates it in a coffee can, sometimes he said he used a glass jar. I wonder how much of this is the truth--the glass jar didn't show any signs of smoke or discoloration. However, the roll of burning toilet paper was definitely there. He brought us several cans of aerosol spray that were empty, also, matches and cigarette lighters he'd been using. No one in this house smokes, we don't have matches or cigarette lighters. we asked him where he got the matches and cigarette lighters, no answer, just clammed up. He then said a neighbor gave them to him, then he later recanted the story. he also said he likes fire and the smell of burning paper, etc. I'm not too sure what's true and what isn't, but he definitely needs help. We took him to the ER when we first discovered the problem, he was acting high, all they did at the ER was observe him, then sent him home with instructions to call his pediatricain in the morning. All the ped said to do was to contact a psychiatrist, faxed us a list, tried calling, can't even get an appointment. Meanwhile, I'm almost certain he continues to use inhalants even though I threw away every spray can in the house. today we were out at a store, he asked to use the restroom, it was a single-use restroom, I used it after him, there was a can of air freshner in there, also, the toilet paper was off the roll and on the floor. He acted "high" after that--I suspect he used the air freshner in the restroom and sprayed it on toilet paper to sniff, but he didn't have anything to light it with. Guess he could get a high just from smelling it? Well, what do we do? we've appealed to his doctor, the ER, just get brushed off. I really feel he's dangerous, he could set fire to the house, could kill himself with the inhalant use, he needs to be in a psychiatric hospital, how to get him hospitalized? What type of treatment do they do in a hospital? I just don't feel he should be unsupervised, especially now that school is out--oh, I also told the school about the problem, referred to the school counselor, just told he needs attention and supervision, just needs a "lot of love" then brushed off, no referrals to any type of help. How is inhalant abuse treated? What needs to be done to get him hospitalized? How do I proceed? I'm afraid for him and us!
Registered: 1172033601 Posts: 44
Reply with quote
I read your posts earlier this evening and can't fall asleep thinking about the problems you are experiencing with your son. We never really had the chance to address the inhalant abuse problem with our son. At 16 he died from inhaling air freshener. We never knew about inhalants until his death. It is my dream that every parent will become aware of this, educate themselves and their children. I have found that ACE is a wonderful organization in getting the word out there. I return to this message board in the hope of being supportive in whatever way I can be.
As I have become more involved with trying to educate the public, there are also many disheartening stumbling blocks. One of them being that there really does not seem to be one great and easy way to get unhooked from inhalants. Education is the best prevention. But for you and your 11 year old it sounds like he has a serious addiction. Could he be using the fire excuse as a cover up for all his paraphernalia? a few unorganized thoughts: Is his school active in building awareness with students and parents? If one child is using, there are usually others. Have you considered alerting his friends parents that inhalant abuse is happening? This web site does list quite a few other resources to consult. Finding a good counselor takes time. Often churches may keep a reference file of recommended professionals in the mental health field. I would look for one who would work with the whole family. Have you openly talked with your son about all the deadly dangers of inhalant abuse? (have you read to him the letter by Jeff Williams on finding his son dead? - pretty powerful)
Although he may bulk, I encourage doing an activity together - kayaking, biking, climbing or encourage an activity that he shows an interest or talent in.
Raising 5 kids was no easy task. We always let them know that we would always love them. But, we also let them know when we did not like them, or what they were doing... our goal was for them to take responsibility for their actions. We would like to think that our Justin would be with us today, had we known about inhalants to warn him... You can try to remove the 100's of items from home that he could use to get high from, but unless he can be inspired to want to live, it does seem fruitless. Get yourself into a support group. Take care of yourself and other family members. Read as much as you can about the problem. Make no threats of punishment that you cannot follow through on. The bottom line is there is no good rehab one size fits all program. As parents we try to do the best we can with what there is. I wish that I had better answers. I wish you much luck. __________________ janna d zuber
Registered: 1172033601 Posts: 44
Reply with quote
Just reread my post from last night and would like to clarify one point - I did sound a little heartless saying that it would be fruitless to remove all the items in the home that a person can abuse if they want to. I would certainly get rid of quite a few, and try to put under lock and key necessary things like computer dust off. Try not to have temptation so easily accessible. My point was that if a person wants to use whatever their choice of addictive substances, they will.
If you have not yet read all the posts on the message board, I reccomend it. You may find some helpful information. Go on line and look up drug and rehab programs in your area, see if they are familiar with this abuse. Do go to an Al-Anon meeting. Again I wish you luck, every life is worth fighting for and as you know, your son needs your help! __________________ janna d zuber