GLUE SNIFFING AFFECTS OUR MENTAL HEALTH
One reader recently enquired through email over whether glue sniffing can cause mental health problems or not. Glue is classified under a group of drugs known as inhalants and it is an open fact that inhalant use is a cause for concern. Inhalant use account for 1 % of substance use in the world. We have been accustomed to the fact that glue is usually used by “street kids” but is often used by many of the youth. Several studies have shown a strong relationship between juvenile delinquency and inhalant use and in most cases a facilitating ground for use of other illicit substances. In developing countries like Botswana it is mostly common in lower socioeconomic group. Glue when used as a drug, the method of administration is often sniffing. The intoxicating effect from glue sniffing is often short lived for a few minutes. This then forces the user to repeatedly inhale the glue to get the “high” effect. The effect of glue sniffing can be hallucinations, confusion, drowsiness and slurred speech. Glue sniffers may initially attain a euphoric state or less anxiety which is an effect they desire to either cause trouble or commit crime. Following many years of chronic glue use, there can be central nervous system or brain damage. Some users can end up having tremors, muscle weakness or even death as a result of use. Dealing with glue sniffing, takes the most universal approach like other substance use disorders. However, we must cognisant of the fact that inhalants like glue are readily available, less expensive and legal which make it easy for youth to use. The use of glue is easily concealed which makes it difficult for parents and teachers at school to detect its use. Treatment of the problem is often done looking at individual client’s symptoms. Individual counselling and group therapy may be other alternatives in addressing the situation.