25 April 2006

Inhalant Abuse

The following excerpt from a Reuters health news item got me interested when I saw it. I thought sniffing glue was a limited problem here in the Philippines.
NEW YORK [Reuters, Apr 24, 2006] --- About 20 percent of U.S. teenagers admit they have gotten high by inhaling common household products, and fewer understand the dangers of this practice compared with teenagers five years ago, according to a report released Monday.

Sniffing or "huffing" vapors from ordinary products like glue, spray paint, nail polish remover, and gasoline was once a "fringe" activity, said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership.

But by the mid-1990s, the practice had "exploded nationwide," he told Reuters Health, and even elementary school children were experimenting with the inhalants readily available under their kitchen sinks.

Here, if you are observant enough while driving or walking, you would see street children holding plastic bags and sniffing it. What's inside? A cheap contact cement substance or glue or "rugby," which can be bought at a cheap price in any hardware or small stores that sell construction materials. It is easily accessible and anyone can buy it. It is the cheapest form of a dangerous substance.

Street children usually would like to get "high" to forget their problems and most probably also to forget the ever nagging pain of hunger. Occasionally, there would be local drives by the city government to curb this practice, but after some time, it dies down, and the street children will be back sniffing the lethal fumes of "rugby." Because of the practice, they're even given the moniker "rugby boys," which any Western fellow might mistake for some new sports group.

The surveys say that the main reason for inhalant abuse is "lack of education." Maybe. I would like to think it is just one of the many reasons. In the US setting, it can also be due to boredom or depression. Here, I think it is mainly depression. And yes, I almost forgot, it can also be indifference from most people.

12 reactions:

bayibhyap said...

I think glue sniffing is the most prevalent among the inhalant abusers. This is followed by petrol sniffing. It is a problem not just confined to the US. It is a problem well among us. Escapism is one main reason, from family problems, from financial problems and a host of other problems.

Drug addicts also turn to inhalants when their supplies run out, sometimes when they have no money to feed their expensive habits and sometimes when the authorities crack down on the suppliers. The widespread abuse pattern happens becuase the inhalants are cheap, easily available and there is little the authorities can do to curb the sale of the inhalants.

Long-term sniffing can lead to serious health problems but such advise falls on deaf ears to those who are trying to escape, however temporary, from their present problems.

rolly said...

I was shocked the first time I saw a group of boys holding a packet and sniffing it. It just comes off naturally to them. They were under a bridge at the time. I wonder why no cop would arrest them or some government agency.

ipanema said...

I think poverty is the main cause of such social problems. But I don't know why the government, in particular, the Dept. of Social Welfare are not doing something about this. If they are, why are there so many street children in Manila, not to mention other parts of the country? No funds again? So, they leave them roaming around the dangerous streets turning them into child prostitutes, thieves and committing other related social crimes.

A pity because most of these children should be in school. Again, the Dept. of Education, what have they done to help? Wait for DSWD to turn over these children?

Dr. Emer said...

IPANEMA: There are times when they round up the kids. Soon, you'll find them back on the streets again. Yes, lack of funds is one of the problems cited. There's also lack of place to stay. If you ask me, the real causes are the high unemployment rate, the high fertility rate, and the lack of better programs to address problems like this. This has been going for years. The solutions offered are ningas-cogon at best.

ipanema said...

Yes, back to economic issues again.

"high fertility rate" - result of their form of entertainment? :)

I believe in lack of better programmes to support such issues.

Sidney said...

There isn't lack of money, places and resources! There is lack of political will to address the problem.
More and more I am convinced that the main problem is corruption, corruption and corruption !

Speaking of education I would recommend to read "Robbed" a publication of Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

"An entire generation of Filipino students robbed of their right to a good education."
The worst that can happen to a country! They are our future.
Look how much the US, Europe, China, Singapore and India are spending on education !

ipanema said...

There isn't lack of money, places and resources! There is lack of political will to address the problem.

>>Show me where the money is, please. :)

I've read the extract on "Robbed" online and it's about corruption from all levels in DECS. This isn't news. This has been going on ages ago.

I know this story by heart. My family used to be in that business. One of our clients is DECS. Transactions ran into millions, how much will go to whom? I know it. I was there, we was part of it. And we were but a small fry. Believe me, I know it.

Are we still on the topic? What's it again? :)

ipanema said...

grammar mistake again! Third paragraph please> we WERE part of it.

thanks, please edit as you read. :)

Sidney said...

>>Show me where the money is, please. :)

Maybe you should walk around Forbes Park & Alabang... or you could go to some banks in Hong Kong & USA. There is a lot of Pinoy money there...

Get the right taxes, collect the taxes in a honest way and USE the taxpayer's money the way it should be spend. On education, on infrastructure projects, on the economy, etc.
Why are other countries able to do it and we can't?

I think we are still on topic: those homeless glue sniffing street children will disappear with progress!

ipanema said...

"Maybe you should walk around Forbes Park & Alabang... or you could go to some banks in Hong Kong & USA. There is a lot of Pinoy money there..."

>>People living in FP & Alabang do pay taxes too. Maybe identifying who lives there and whether they have ill-gotten wealth is another story. Why should they suffer because they live comfortably or they are rich when their wealth is handed down from generation to generation or that they are hardworking and lucky they're able to put up big businesses? Why blame those who are rich? Why not blame those who enrich themselves illegally? Not because they have posh addresses should be condemned.

USA & Hongkong=>Illegal money siphoned from the economy invested in these places? If you can identify them. It goes as far as Swiss accounts.

Very true, through taxes and spending it properly. Perfect economic model. But tell the government this.

Cheers. I can only shake my head with the above arguments. :)

Sidney said...

"I can only shake my head with the above arguments."

In which direction? From left to right or up and down? ;-)

Anyway, I think you got my point. I don't condemn the rich (I consider myself "mildly" rich ;-)

I just want to say : Collect taxes, use those taxes for education, for infrastructure and help people put up small businesses. Spread the wealth among the population (instead of building WALLS) and you will see less street children roaming the streets, glue sniffing kids, homeless people and doctors dreaming to become nurses.
Do it before the the social volcano explode...

ipanema said...

lol sidney. in all directions, i suppose. Because it is easier said than done.

the social volcano has exploded that's why we have these problems.

WOW! can u share some of ur riches to every street children you see? If your bank account is overflowing send some to me...lol

ipanema<< below poverty line :(