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Inhalant Abuse and Overdose: Cause of Death for Skye Bartusiak

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Inhalant abuse occurs more frequently than it gets recognized for by the public.  These toxins that people breathe in to achieve a bewildering short-lived high act as a deathly toxin on the brain’s nervous system due to the detrimental chemical effects on the body.  This proved to be fatal for a beloved young star who died far too prematurely because of it.  Just recently, it was confirmed that inhalant abuse and drug overdose was the cause of death for 21-year-old “Patriot” actress and child star Skye Bartusiak.

Skye Bartusiak

On July 19, the young leading lady, Skye Bartusiak, was found by her boyfriend when he saw she was lying unconscious on her bed.  Her mother, Helen, originally believed that Skye had suffered from a seizure, ultimately suffocating from the lack of oxygen as a result of no one being around to assist her or call for emergency assistance.  The toxicology report came back and evidently revealed that the girl had ingested muscle relaxers, pain medication, and chemicals that suggest she abused inhalants like Dust Off – similar to the high that nitrous oxide would create.  This is a computer and electronics cleaner that projects a compressed gas from a spray can.  Drug abusers and addicts have been known to inhale these gases, liquids, sprays, and other forms of substances for the purpose of experiencing euphoric effects.  Commonly called huffing, this act is done to ultimately achieve a high off the chemicals in the product.  It was specifically stated that the “combined toxic effects of hydrocodone and difluoroethane with carisoprodol” was what brought Skye Bartusiak to unconsciousness.  “We lost our girl,” Helen expressed after her daughter’s untimely death.  “She was a kind and really beautiful girl.”  It’s vital for the public to be educated on the fact that substance abuse disorders do not discriminate.  The disease of addiction and drug abuse can affect the lives of people regardless of their age, career, gender, finances, social class, race, or any other category for the matter.

Dangers of Inhalant Abuse

Inhalant abuse doesn’t get brought up enough.  These chemicals are extremely easily accessible to young teenagers and it’s often one of, if not the, first drug they abuse because of their accessibility.  The insanity of the disease behind drug addiction and abuse is demonstrated with inhalant abuse because it shows how far the drug user is willing to go to achieve the next quick fix for instant gratification.

What do inhalants do to the brain and body when a person feels high from the chemicals?

When a person feels high off the chemicals from inhalant abuse, it is because their lungs have breathed in the toxicity so rapidly that it has reached the bloodstream and sends signals to the brain.  These signals disturb the brain’s reward system, which produces the sensation of an artificial euphoria when the body is really malfunctioning.  The brain does not get the adequate amount of oxygen required for proper functioning when a person is breathing in chemicals from inhalants.  This is why memory and concentration problems may increase with use.  Due to strain on the nervous system, long-term inhalant abuse can lead to damage that varies from spastic motions, motor functions, stability, and communication.

Inhalant abuse is extremely dangerous and, as in the case of Skye Bartusiak, it can be deadly.  Talking about the dangers of inhaling chemicals and other toxins can help spread awareness.  Early prevention can be effective for minimizing drug abuse in the long run, but sometimes preventative measures fail.  If this is the case, then treatment and a network of healthy supports are strongly encouraged for the best chance at achieving and sustaining long-term recovery.

Are you struggling with drug abuse and don’t know what to do?  Contact The Watershed today at 1-800-861-1768.  You don’t have to go through this alone.




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