Drug addiction is a common problem among homeless street children, but a new study published in the journal Addiction sheds new light on the enormity and specifics of the issue. In a review of 50 studies about street children in 22 different countries, an international group of researchers found widely varying rates of drug abuse, but commonalities about the types used. In low to middle-income countries, inhalants are most commonly used, while street children in higher-income nations favor intravenous narcotics.
Huffing addiction is more prevalent in poorer countries because according to the study, “things like glue, acetone, gasoline and paint thinner […] are cheap and legal, and therefore easy to get.” The researchers note that certain inhalants like gasoline and glue are so volatile that they may cause users to have a difficult time being reintegrated into society.
“They’re so detrimental to a person’s health,” said Dr. Paula Braitstein, associate research professor at Indiana University School of Medicine and co-author of the study, to the Voice of America. “They cause really a lot of short term effects, for example, sudden heart failure […] It causes a huge amount of cognitive effects. Basically, their brains become impaired. The substances in the glue basically just kill your brain cells.”
Many of the children interviewed in the study said that they began using inhalants because of peer pressure and the need to increase courage and strength for life on the streets.
If your teen is abusing inhalants, now is the time in intervene. Contact the staff at Intervention Services today to learn how you can help your child before the problem gets worse.