06 Nov How to lower the risk and to offer help
Since inhalants are sometimes found in the home, getting rid of the risk altogether is hard. But one thing that many parents are beginning to do is to buy products that are organic in nature. For example, instead of cleaning with ammonia, they might clean with vinegar, which is not harmful. Plus, keeping these products away from young children is important as is being aware that some kids may choose to abuse them. For example, if you are worried that someone is at risk for abusing these products, you can keep them in a secure place, making them at least harder to obtain in your home.
If you do have someone you are worried about, tell a trusted adult. Or, consider saying something. Here is some practical advice if you decide to talk to your friend first: you might want to gently bring up the topic privately when your friend is in a good mood, seemingly open to discussion and NOT when you suspect that the person has been using. Tell your friend that you are worried he is using inhalants and then, if your friend confides that he does, ask him why he does it. Being non-judgmental about it is really important. Whatever his reasons are, those reasons need to be heard and accepted for progress to happen.
Listen with the intention of really hearing him and to understand what he may be feeling and going through. Repeat to him what you think is causing the need for him to inhale and make sure you’ve got it right. Then ask him if you could help him. Tell him you are worried about his health and you know the risks. Tell him to read this post.
If your friend tells you not to tell anyone, you may need to have a frank but difficult conversation. You can die using inhalants, so you will need to think about what is the best thing to do. Consider telling him that you will go with him to a trusted adult to help manage the situation. Or, you can tell your trusted adult about the situation so that person can help manage the situation and help decide what else might need to be done.
Of course you don’t want anything bad to happen to your friend. Things happen when you use inhalants. Bad things. Even death. So take action to save a life. If you are worried about losing your friend because you say something, always remember that losing a friendship is better than someone losing a life. One can be repaired, the other can not.
Would you feel strong enough to confront a friend? If not, what else could you do?