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  • Dentists
  • Dental Hygienists
  • Dental Assisting
Hours: 3 Contact Hours
Author(s): Karen Espeland, MSN, RN, CARN
Peer Reviewer(s): Veronica Powers, DMD
Item#: L0804
Contents: 1 Course Book (30 pages)
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Inhalant Abuse: Oral and Physical Manifestations, 2nd Edition

Price $29.95
Item # L0804
When available, the Online Course format is included with the hard copy, eBook, or audio book formats!

Release Date: July 31, 2013

Review Date: December 16, 2016

Expiration Date: December 15, 2019


Inhalants are a diverse group of substances that produce chemical vapors that induce a psychoactive effect. Scores of commercial products readily available to people of all ages can be abused, including spray paints, markers, glues, and cleaning fluids. The complex chemical compounds contained in these substances produce an immediate reaction in the mind and the body. The chemicals pass through the lungs into the bloodstream and are carried directly to the brain. Inhalant substances can be found in homes (kitchens, bathrooms, garages, and laundry rooms), schools, and hospitals, as well as in medical settings, such as dental offices.

This basic-level course addresses the abuse of inhalants, specifically nitrous oxide, in the dental setting. The course discusses different types of inhalants, the reasons for their abuse, and the types of individuals who commonly abuse them. The effects and dangers of inhalant abuse are discussed. The oral, physical, and psychological effects and manifestations of inhalant abuse are described. Legal regulations governing nitrous oxide are presented.



AGD Subject Code: 157
Western Schools designates this activity for 3 continuing education credits.



Course Objectives

  • List the different types of inhalants and facts regarding their intoxicating effects and abuse.
  • Discuss the abuse of nitrous oxide, including accessibility and consequences.
  • Describe the oral, physical, and psychological manifestations of inhalant abuse, including inhalant fatalities.
  • Discuss the legal regulation and contraindications of nitrous oxide.


Karen Espeland, MSN, RN, CARN, received her bachelor of science degree in nursing from the University of North Dakota and her master of science degree in nursing in 1965 from the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. A Certified Addiction Registered Nurse and a Certified Chemical Dependency Nurse, Ms. Espeland served as a clinical instructor of neuroscience at the University of North Dakota; associate professor at the Medcenter One College of Nursing in Bismarck, North Dakota; director of nurses at the Heartview Foundation in Mandan, North Dakota; and staff nurse and nursing instructor at several universities and facilities. Ms. Espeland has received many awards, including the Outstanding Contributions to Education in Addictions Nursing Award. She has published on healthcare topics in journals and lectured on healthcare issues for professional and public groups, developed continuing education courses, and reviewed texts and articles prior to publication.


Veronica Powers, DMD, received a BS degree from Providence College and a DMD degree from the Oregon Health & Science University. After working for four years as a general dentist in Portland, Oregon, Dr. Powers returned to New York City to serve as lead dentist for Phoenix House Foundation in Brooklyn, New York, where she provided comprehensive treatment for the residents of a rehabilitation facility. In this capacity, she performed simple and surgical extractions and root canals and placed crowns, bridges, and removable prosthodontics. Dr. Powers created the protocol for the day-to-day management of the clinic and became especially adept at treating anxious patients. Now in private practice, Dr. Powers is licensed to practice dentistry in the state of New York, maintains registration with the Drug Enforcement Administration, and is CPR-certified. She has provided volunteer dentistry in India and in Chiapas, Mexico, and has worked with the American Dental Association’s Give Kids a Smile program in the United States.

  • Courses must be completed on or before the expiration date noted in the course description above.
  • You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion.
  • Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that the course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools’ policy not to accept commercial support.
  • All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.
  • There are no prerequisites for this course.