Whippet abuse is most commonly found in teenagers and young adults with a small percentage of use occurring between the ages of 21 and 34.
A high from a whippet can begin seconds after use but only lasts a few minutes. The effects on the brain and the person’s mental health can last much longer.
What Are Whippets?
A whippet is a recreational drug that people usually obtain through products that you can find in your local grocery store. The most common is whipped cream dispensers. The name comes from the Whip-it! brand.
You can also find it in cooking sprays or vegetable sprays. Removing the aerosol canisters inside these products gives you access to the substance that creates the high.
The substance that causes the whippet high is nitrous oxide (NO).
Nitrous oxide has been used recreationally since the mid-1770s, shortly after it was first synthesized as an anesthetic for medical and dental use.
It is still commonly used in dentistry and other medical settings as an anesthetic and has the nickname “laughing gas.”
Today, nitrous oxide and other inhalants continue to be used illicitly.
Whippets And Other Inhalants
Whippets make up a subset of a larger category of drug use referred to as inhalants.
Inhalants may include:
- felt tip markers
- spray paint
- computer cleaners
These products all share one thing in common. They are common household products that contain solvents.
Among the many products used for inhalant abuse, felt-tip markers and glue are among the most common. Whippets are less popular but still a concern.
The use of inhalants is often referred to as huffing. Whippets can also be referred to by the names hippy crack, rush, or huff.
Why Do Teens Use Whippets?
Teens engage in nitrous oxide abuse for a variety of reasons, stemming from personal and emotional conflict or curiosity.
However, there are certain common denominators, including the high that whippets create. The whippet high comes on quickly and creates euphoric effects.
Nitrous Oxide Is Easy To Find
Nitrous oxide is as easy to find as buying whipped cream cans at the grocery store. It’s also cheap.
The most difficult part of nitrous oxide abuse is extracting the cream chargers or canisters that hold NO.
Since the steel cartridges are small, NO is easy to conceal. The use of it is relatively easy to conceal as well because it doesn’t require drug paraphernalia.
Dangers Of Whippet Abuse In Teens
Whippet abuse is not without its dangers. It can cause a number of side effects that can occur with both short-term and long-term abuse.
As with other inhalants, whippets can cause severe respiratory problems. A single, first-time use can lead to sudden death.
Whippet use produces a variety of short-term effects that go beyond euphoria, sedation, and giddiness.
Short-term effects of whippet use can include:
- uncontrollable laughter
- blurred vision
- dizziness or light-headedness
- uncoordinated movements
If young people use too much nitrous oxide at one time, it can cause an overdose.
The effects of a nitrous oxide overdose include:
- loss of blood pressure
- heart attack
There are long-term effects of whippet use as well. Among the more serious effects includes the depletion of vitamin B12. The long-term depletion of this vitamin can result in neurological damage.
Another serious concern is brain damage and the loss of brain cells due to oxygen depletion.
Additional long-term effects of the use of nitrous oxide include:
- birth defects, if abused when pregnant
- loss of memory
- weakened immune system
- psychological dependence
- numbness in extremities
Signs Of Whippet Use In Teenagers
In addition to the signs listed above under short-term effects, there are other signs of substance use that you can watch for.
Warning signs that a teenager is involved in whippet abuse include:
- poor performance in school
- suicidal thoughts
Find Treatment For Substance Use Today
If you are battling inhalant abuse, you can find addiction treatment for yourself or a loved one. Reach out to us if you would like to know more about beginning your recovery.Article Sources
- Alcohol and Drug Foundation
- Detroit Health Department
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
- Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
- Practical Neurology
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)