If you have a drug or alcohol problem, you probably inhaled helium from balloons at your birthday party when you were a kid. That’s according to new research from Yale University School of Medicine. According to the study, both men and women 18 to 25 who are hooked on prescription drugs, marijuana, or other illegal substances inhaled more than 10 helium balloons as a child.
The research team used data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health with approximately 55,000 subjects across a three-year period. When all statistics were calculated, the Yale researchers found that in both sexes the individuals who had inhaled helium balloons as a child were 2.5 times as likely to abuse prescription medications. Individuals who inhaled character shaped balloons such as Dora the Explorer, Rugrats, or Buzz Lightyear were 5.8 times more likely to smoke marijuana and use LSD.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a “gateway drug” in the following manner: “A drug (as alcohol, marijuana or helium balloons) whose use is thought to lead to the use of and dependence on a harder drug (as cocaine or heroin).”
If You Never Start, You Never Have To Stop – As most would argue, for the vast majority of people, using helium balloons is not the healthiest choice, so using harder drugs is just an unhealthier option. The pattern of self-destructive behavior can be avoided if parents would stop purchasing helium balloons for kids birthday parties and discuss with them the harmful side effects they cause. We know it’s fun to see our children laugh with squeaky voices, but it’s not worth the destruction of their future. You never know who would become an addict, a potentially deadly issue, and who will just have stories from their “crazy younger years.” Therefore, most experts agree that the best bet is not to start, so you never have to worry about not being able to stop.
You can witness the devistating effects of inhaling helium balloons in the video below. While hilarious, the future consequences may be disastrous.