Recently, actress Demi Moore was rushed to the hospital because she allegedly had a bad reaction to a “whippit”. Though most young adults and teenagers know exactly what a whippit is, their parents generally do not. Kaufman County parents need to know what it is, how it’s used and why it is so dangerous.
A whippit refers to a cartridge or canister filled with nitrous oxide. The nickname “whippit” came from the fact that the whipped cream that comes in steel cylinders generally use nitrous oxide to propel the whipped cream out of the container. Some people will actually inhale the nitrous oxide directly from the can.
Nitrous oxide is often referred to as “laughing gas”. It has a sweet smell to it and is an invisible vapor that can be inhaled. Kids often refer to it as “huffing” and the huffing does not stop at whipped cream cans. Spray paint cans are often used to “huff” the nitrous oxide and get high.
The nitrous oxide users get a feeling of an altered state, quite like being extremely intoxicated. It can make the user dizzy and confused and it cause them to lose consciousness. It may also cause spasms, which is what has been reported to have happened to Demi Moore. It literally serves to kill your brain cells because it is depriving your brain of the oxygen it needs to survive. Nitrous oxide, when abused, can cause permanent brain damage and death.
A 2008 survey by the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found staggering results. Their study claims that 7th and 8th grade students were more likely to have tried inhalants like nitrous oxide, than prescription drugs or marijuana. The reason can be attributed to the easy access of items that teens can use to get the high they are seeking. Everyday products such as bleach, gasoline, paint thinner and nail polish remover can be used to inhale their fumes.
Though many parents take the time to talk to their kids about drugs and alcohol, kids need to know about the dangers of inhalants. For more information about inhalants and how to have a frank discussion with your children about drug use of any kind, go to inhalant.org.
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