First post - daughter secretly taking drugs through inhaler? (HELP IDENTIFY)

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by nancymerlot, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. nancymerlot

    nancymerlot New Member

    Hello all!

    This is my first post.

    I Have spent the past two nights poring over these forums in an attempt to better understand my current situation. I am posting in the hopes that someone might help me to identify which substance(s) my difficult child daughter (22) could be using, and help me determine the proper course of action.

    My difficult child dropped out of high school at 16. I've had little control over her since. I strongly suspect that in the past she was using many varieties of drugs, however she dodged all questions and unfortunately never left any hard evidence. In the past she has vanished for weeks at a time while staying with "friends" I never met, stopping at home periodically only to play with her bunny and ask me for food.

    She has, since September, finally gotten her act together and begun attending art school on a scholarship. Though I was extremely proud of her, I worried for her safety and wellbeing - you know what they say about art school!

    I traveled to visit her for the Holidays, which we spent with my Niece's family (who live near her school). Family occasions with difficult child have never been easy, however this time I was (initially) pleasantly surprised by her demeanor. This rapidly shifted to concern as, although she was eating plenty of food, she began disappearing frequently to the bathroom.

    She is underweight, and in the past I have wondered if she might have an eating disorder. My suspicions shifted as she returned from each successive visit to the bathroom giddier and giddier. We were drinking wine with dinner, but not THAT much!!!!

    Not wanting to spoil the evening. I kept these thoughts to myself. Later on my Niece asked me when difficult child had developed asthma, as she'd seen her ducking away to use what looked like an inhaler. She said it gave off a minty smell.

    I don't know what to think. My daughter was quite clearly drugged up to her eyeballs - but I don't know what on, and I can't accuse her without any proof or at least an IDEA of what it could have been. What kind of drugs can come from an inhaler?

    I have other concerns about my daughter - some of which have come to light after I returned home and did a thorough search of her room - however this is the most pressing.

    I intend to continue to support her by paying for her rent, iPhone, and Netflix subscription - however I refuse to endorse whatever drug habit it is she has picked up in Art School by giving her cash. I can only eliminate this support, however, once I am sure of what she is on.

    Thank you all for reading this and Happy New Years!
  2. Zardo

    Zardo Member

    I am so sorry for your situation - I assure u many of us can relate. It is fairly popular to inhale CO2 or nitrous oxide - also known as whippets - I have not heard of it being in an asthma inhaler - but unfortunately there are all sorts of tricks out there so it's possible - the frequent bathroom use and giddiness make sense if its that - some think its not addictive - I know differently as my difficult child struggles with it and its a tough one - good luck to u - post any questions
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    While I have no firsthand experience, it IS possible to get high on various things in inhalers. The OTC primatene type inhalers can be used as a type of 'speed' and there are people who misuse rx asthma inhalers to get high.

    You can also buy systems to put 'herbal vapors' into cartridges used for inhalation. They look and work just like inhalers.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    While I don't know, and you will probably never know, exactly what your daughter is taking, it is clear she is and has been for some time. Warning: Meth can make you look like a skeleten. My daughter took meth and she maybe weighed 85 lbs. I, like you, wondered about an eating disorder rather than drugs as I was convinced she was only smoking pot until I checked her room out, invaded her privacy, and lost my innocence. We made her leave and she did quit.

    You may or may not want to tell us about your daughter's story. But, as of now, I would cut off all of her money supply. We did that as soon as Daughter brought cigarettes in the house...we knew she was also smoking pot...we didn't want to be responsible for funding one dime of her self-destruction. Thereafter, she did have to get a job and keep it, even while in high school, which she managed to finish.

    I know a good book you can read called "Copdendent No more" by Melodie Beattie. It will help you get your life back because the truth is there isn't anything you can do to stop your daughter's behavior at all. You have no control over it. You can only set down a tough line, which usually is the best offense against drug users. That means, she uses drugs and she has to leave the house and find another place to stay (often it is couch surfing until the guests get sick of her). It is not sending checks for food. If you want to get her some food, you buy it and bring it to her because any money you give her will go straight to drugs.

    I don't personally believe in financing a drug user (or really any 23 year olds) "toys" but, if you do, pay directly. Don't give her a dime. She will not spend it the way you want it spent. Tough love works. Enabling the users behavior just gives them excuses to continue the self-destruction and we fund it. Most of us did start out fudning them and quit. Have you ever gone to Nar-Anon? I like them a lot. Not everyone does.

    You at least need a therapist who can help you detach from your daughter's drama. She is an adult now and you have no control over whether or not she gets clean or decides to keep it up. You can only control one person in the world...yourself. And you can live a fun, happy, good life even if your daughter is in a bad place. You must have other loved ones who need you. Focus on them. jMost of all, focus on your own life. Not easy at first, but gets easier with time...I would only assist daughter if she says, "I want to quit. I want to go into rehab."

    When parents come here asking what to do about their adult child's poor choices, they are probably shocked when they hear that there is nothing they can do. Even more startling may be to hear that most of us have withdrawn from our child's drama and addiction and do not support much financially and that most don't live at home. But you can get into legal trouble yourself if she has drugs in your home, if she lives there.

    Others will come along...many of us have walked your path. Some adult children do decide to quit and some do not. But they never quit because of anything we as parents say or do. In fact, many thumb their noses at us and are very disrespectful and even steal from us for drugs.

    Stopping an addiction is hard and it has to come from the person who is addicted. You need to find peace and happiness in your life and try not to make it cushy and warm and soft for your daughter to destroy herself.

    I feel so badly for your hurting mommy heart as I have been there. Please stick around.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

  6. nancymerlot

    nancymerlot New Member

    High off whipped cream! Now I've heard everything. What will our difficult children think of next???!!! How many times can a single "Whippet" be used to get high? She didn't have her purse on her, and on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Eve over the course of the night she excused herself upwards of 20 times!

    My brother in law has asthma so I asked him what an inhaler would do if she was sneaking off to the bathroom to use it. He said all it could do was give a brief head-rush, so he didn't think it could be that.

    The effects were definately cumulative and I don't think she drank more than a bottle of wine in total. I was so in denial I wanted to just believe she was happy because she had missed me!!!

    What do you mean by "Herbal vapors"? We aren't talking about aromatherapy here.. My Niece said it gave off a mint scent when she ex-haled. One of my Girlfriends suggested it could be an E-Cigarette - however nobody I've asked has ever heard of an inhaler-shaped E-Cigarette - and *I've* never seen someone turn into a "Ball of giggles" under the influence of nicotine..

    I'm not trying to enable her. She needs her iPhone for school and I would much rather prefer she stay home and watch NetFlix than be out on the streets taking drugs!

    All I want for my daughter is for her to be successful in Art School. It's taken her so long to get to this point. She seems to be doing well in school, and I don't want to harm her ability to continue doing so by cutting off support. If I do that, DEX would GLADLY take over and for reasons I don't want to get into this would be a VERY bad outcome.

    I don't want money I give her going to drugs - and if I continue to support her I want to stage an intervention - but I can't confront her or cut off support until I figure out what it is she is hooked on. If she couldn't make it through CHRISTMAS without her "fix," Lord knows she must be doing it at school as well!

    I'm trying to take care of me right now, but it's so hard knowing she is 1000 miles away doing Lord knows what to the body He gave her.

    Thank you all again for your support and answers.

  7. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

  8. nancymerlot

    nancymerlot New Member

    Hi Nancy,

    She apologized and told us initially that she might have a stomach flu. I didn't want to press her on this - I didn't need gross details that she in all likelihood would have provided, true or not.

    It sure didn't seem short lasting as the effects became progressively more severe. I doubt she suspects we even noticed a change in her demeanor, though. She is clever but not as much as she thinks she is. With hindsight, she was definately attempting to suppress some of the effects.

    My Niece just wrote to tell me that one of her friends who was there also DEFINATELY saw her on the balcony Christmas Day with an inhaler as she was leaving.

    I realize now how in denial I've been. I thought we were through this phase now that she was doing something productive with her life.

    Does anyone know if it could be a Hallucinogen? Can those be inhaled? I know there are so many new "bath salts", etc. these days. What a daunting task this is turning out to be.

    Taking deep breaths.
  9. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sadly Nancy many of us have found in hindsight that we did not see signs we wish we had earlier. I don't know about hallucinogen's being inhaled but I'll do some research. It's a shame us parents have to find all this out on our own, it would be nice if there was a place we could go to that would help us identify substances.

    It does seem as though asthma inhalers may be the culprit:

    I noticed in the second link that asthma inhaler abuse is especially dangerous in those that have a thyroid condition.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    In my opinion, it doesn't matter what substances she is taking. Just knowing she is using drugs is enough to stop enabling and trying hard (and it's not easy, I know first hand) to get out of denial. I never knew all my daughter was taking until she told me after she stopped using yet we still cut off her money supply.
    Why does it matter what she is taking? It is obviously not good and you probably will never learn the whole picture, scary as that sounds.
    Again, so sorry this is happening. I am betting that she will need to get clean before she finishes art school. In fact, I would (and did) worry about her education secondary to her health.
    More hugs!!!!
  11. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    Vaporizers are becoming very common these days they are every size from a cable box to a pen; very popular for MJ in dorm settings because it doesn't smell like pot if anything they would think smelled burnt microwave popcorn. The mint smell has me thinking spice in a vaporizer or possibly mint leaves soaked in formaldehyde, without hard evidence no telling.

    I would bring up the repeat bathroom breaks and change in behavior and straight up ask what drugs doing? Even if denies it the look on the face will tell if your on to something.

    Good luck... Nancy