>> Nov 23, 2012
Demi Moore’s hospitalization and check-in at rehab centers or sober living homes after suffering from seizures then passing out has brought whip-its to the spotlight. Whip-its have been one of the most widely used recreational inhalants among many Americans since the ‘90s. But it was only after Moore’s breakdown during a nasty divorce from husband Ashton Kutcher that whip-its have been placed under close scrutiny once again.
Recent reports from the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) show that whip-its have become the leading recreational inhalant in the US, with over 12 million Americans using it and trying it at least once. But what exactly are whip-its and how come many teens are using them?
Whip-its are small canisters of whipped cream filled with nitrous oxide otherwise known as - laughing gas. When you inhale this nitrous oxide either from a canister or tank, it can give you that temporary high that can last a few seconds or a few minutes. What’s sad about Moore’s case is that the actress is 49 years old – supposedly too old for this juvenile trip. Whip-its are used mostly by teenagers who are looking for some cheap thrill.
Cheap – this is the reason why many teenagers are so into it. Since whip-its are pretty cheap and are very much available anywhere, teens have all the access to this laughter-inducing but risky activity. What they don’t know is that although whip-its can give them a few seconds or minutes of momentary high, they can be fatal. Dr. Westley Clark, the Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, said that inhaling nitrous oxide can interrupt oxygen supply to the brain. This can consequently cause severe effects on the nervous system, the heart, and other vital organs.
Long-term effects of nitrous oxide abuse are absolutely no laughing matter. It can cause nerve damage and peripheral neuropathy or the loss of sensation. Vomiting is also a typical side effect. But the worst part is, whip-it abusers can suffer from seizures and even cardiac issues and death when the brain is left without the needed supply of oxygen. This is exactly why abusers and parents alike must seek help from rehab centers and sober living homes for early treatment.
In 2008, a 19-year old college student in Illinois died due to whip-its. His cause of death was asphyxiation due to inhalation of nitrous oxide. His body was found in a fraternity house. This was alarming, but what’s even more disturbing for concerned parents and groups is that although some states have passed laws to stop the use of whip-its or inhalation of nitrous oxide, experts argue that the use of whip-its is generally left unregulated by authorities. The reason for this may be due to the fact that nitrous oxide is undetectable when users are tested.
Because there are no strict laws regulating its use and since whip-its are pretty much available anywhere, either at the grocery stores or online shops, whip-its have become the most popular recreational drug among teenagers and young adults. Hop online and you’ll see quite a growing number of online retailers selling large numbers of whip-its to customers who aren’t even asked their age or reason for purchase.
Until the government does something concrete to control whip-its, parents must take extra precautions and know when their children are showing signs of substance abuse. While it’s still early, such issues need to be addressed so children/teens are more aware of consequences and they can make wiser choices. Treatment must also be sought from professionals in licensed rehab facilities and sober living homes.
A Guest Post by Roger Navidad Pahuriray.