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Most common household substances of abuse amongst Indian youths

Howdy guys! A very happy new year!! Hope you’ve all had a nice start to 2023 and

are looking forward to the rest of the year. For the first blog of this year I thought I’d

share with you some household substances which are surprisingly substances of

abuse amongst teens and young adults, as intoxication is very common at this time

of the year these are some lesser known substances that can be used for abuse.

When someone uses a toxic substance with no control, they have a substance use

disorder. This then affects how they go about their daily lives and may cause issues

at work or in their personal lives.

1. ‘OTC’ Over the Counter Drugs -

Due to its antitussive properties, dextromethorphan is a substance found in many

over-the-counter cough and cold medications.

It is available as -

● liquid-filled capsules

● oral strips

● lozenge or liquids

Many of its forms also contain guaifenesin, acetaminophen, and pseudoephedrine.

Due to its euphoric, hallucinogenic, and

dissociative qualities, dextromethorphan is also a substance that is frequently abused.

Dextromethorphan is also known as Triple C, Dex, Orange Crush, Red Devils, and Poor Man's PCP.

Dextromethorphan poisoning can cause a variety of negative cardiovascular,

neurological, metabolic, and

musculoskeletal symptoms depending on

the dosage consumed. Dextromethorphan

poisoning can also cause complications like hypertension, seizures, tachycardia,

psychosis, and rhabdomyolysis, hence emergency room staff members should

become knowledgeable about how to handle these patients and training for the

same is being carried on in various healthcare setups.

2. Spices that can get you high -

Spices like that can used as intoxicants are -

● nutmeg

● cinnamon

● vanilla

Myristicin, which makes up a large portion of nutmeg, acts on serotonergic receptors

and may cause symptoms that resemble psychosis when consumed. Cinnamon oils

contain local irritants that, when applied topically, may result in dermatitis or

ulcerations. Inhaling cinnamon powder can cause chronic lung inflammation and

fibrosis because it includes cellulose fibres that are both biopersistent and

bioresistant. According to United States Food and Drug Administration pure vanilla

extract has a minimum of 35% ethanol, and anyone looking to get drunk on ethanol

may abuse vanilla extract.

In general, overuse or abuse of these spices

typically causes mild to moderate symptoms

that can be treated without hospitalisation,

however more severe intoxications might.

Clinicians need to be knowledgeable with

management techniques for these exposures

as well as the potential risks associated with

abusing common spices.

3. Inhalant abuse -

Up to 10% of young people may use inhalants, which are a chemically diverse group

of psychoactive compounds found in

● adhesives

● lighter fluid

● spray paint

● cleaning fluid

● typewriter correction fluid

Abuse of inhalants is a serious issue that affects many people, especially young people. There is potential for

mind-altering events due to the accessibility of products containing volatile compounds (such as aerosol sprays, cleaning supplies, and paint).

Unfortunately, grave side effects like death or damage to the brain, heart, liver, or kidneys may result.

Teenagers believe the risk is modest, and it's possible that parents are not aware of the dangers. Health care

professionals should implement measures for the prevention, assessment, and treatment of this difficult issue, especially psychiatric nurses.

4. Volatile solvents -

This can be done with contact adhesive solvents, particularly-

● toluene

● gasoline (petrol)

● halogenated solvents

● volatile hydrocarbons as those in lighter fluid

● aerosol propellants

● halocarbon fire extinguishers

● inhalational anaesthetics.

Similar to other hypnosedatives, VSA also has dose-related effects. Small doses can

quickly generate euphoria and other behavioral

abnormalities comparable to those

brought on by ethanol (alcohol), and they may also cause hallucinations and

delusions. Higher doses may result in potentially fatal side effects like convulsions

and unconsciousness. Death may occur immediately through heart or central

nervous system poisoning or indirectly from something like inhaling vomit.

Abusing chlorinated solvents like

1,1,1-trichloroethane and toluene-

containing products over an

extended period of time can cause serious organ damage, particularly to the liver, kidneys, and brain.

VSA can cause moodiness, anorexia, drunken behavior, and unexplained

listlessness, especially in children and teenagers.

5. Hidden alcohol containing products -

Few household products containing alcohol are-

● Mouthwash

● Perfume or cologne

● Nail polish remover

● Windshield wiper fluid

There are significant concerns when using household goods for their alcohol content.

These frequently contain more alcohol, making alcohol poisoning easier to develop.

Alcohol poisoning may result in difficulties breathing, seizures, or even death.

These frequently contain alcohol

other than the normal ethanol found

in alcoholic beverages that are

frequently drunk, such as isopropyl

alcohol, methanol, or acetone.

Consuming these can be extremely

dangerous, especially when they

are present in high amounts in

home goods.

So what’s the tell?

In order to find out whether someone’s abusing on any of the above substances, you

can look for the following:

● Signs of intoxication

● Changes in behavior, sleep, or weight loss

● A continually decreasing supply of products

● Rags or clothes with chemical odor

● Stains on hands, fingertips, or mouth

If you know or have come across any individual who is battling addiction and needs

help, kindly contact National Toll Free Drug De-Addiction Helpline at ‘1800-11-0031’.

Wishing you guys a prosperous new year once again, see you in the next blog!


Want to know what are the most addictive foods?

Drop in a comment and let us know ⬇️⬇️

Further reading -

1. Journey JD, Agrawal S, Stern E. Dextromethorphan Toxicity. 2022 Jun 27. In:

StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan–.

PMID: 30860737.

2. DOI: 10.1080/15563650.2020.1840579

3. DOI: 10.3928/02793695-20130612-02

4. Flanagan RJ, Ives RJ. Volatile substance abuse. Bull Narc. 1994;46(2):49-78.

PMID: 7866398.



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