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 -
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
● 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-
● 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-
● 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
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–.
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.