“Nagrugby ka ‘no?!” This is often a joke we tell our friends when they say or do something ridiculous. This is because we associate Rugby, a brand of contact cement, to those we see addictively sniffing it in our streets.
We call these “Rugby Boys” because those who sniff Rugby are usually street children. While joking about sniffing rugby is part of Filipino culture, inhalant or rugby sniffing by our youth is no joke.
It’s been reported that the number of street children in our country increase by 6,365 annually, and half of these children aged 8 to 20 have at least once sniffed Rugby and other inhalants. Aside from its easy accessibility and low cost, children and young adults resort to sniffing Rugby to alleviate hunger. However, many eventually become addicted, resulting to widespread abuse and crime committed to fund the addiction.
The Dangers of Inhalants
Inhaling highly concentrated amounts of chemicals (even household chemicals) such as those found in solvents and aerosols can cause many damaging effects to the body, especially of growing individuals.
It can cause heart failure and death for some, even within minutes of repeated inhalation, called Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome. A once healthy person can die just from a single sniffing session.
Other harmful, and often irreversible, side effects include:
- hearing loss
- brain damage
- nervous system damage
- bone marrow damage
- problems in moving limbs and limb spasms
- liver and kidney damage and failure
- depletion of blood oxygen
- learning disability
- language and communication difficulties
When you abuse inhalants such as rugby, gasoline, thinner, spray paints, glues, and other chemicals, you may experience a condition known as hypoxia. Hypoxia causes your lungs to be displaced of air and therefore, your body loses its supply of oxygen. This can then damage the cells in various areas of your brain.
High concentration of inhalants can also cause death, because you can suffocate, lose consciousness, and stop breathing. Deliberately inhaling from a paper or plastic bag will also greatly increase your chance of suffocation.
Signs and Symptoms of Inhalant Abuse and Addiction
Not all addictive substances are illegal. Some can be found right in our own homes. If your family member is showing these signs, he or she may be abusing inhalants:
- slurred speech
- lack of physical coordination
- lack of control
- loss of inhibitions
- dizziness and light-headedness
- feeling drowsy for several hours
Inhalant addiction is dangerous and may also require help from medical and rehabilitation professionals. Bridges of Hope is a leading rehab center for people who are suffering with various kinds of addiction, which also includes inhalant addiction.
If you suspect your child or loved one suffering from inhalant addiction, contact us today.