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Tips for spotting ‘huffing’

Author Alex Bellamy
Submitted 06-04-2010

A recent study found that the use of sniffing common household chemicals, called "huffing," in order to get high is on the rise. Medical experts say some kids are intentionally inhaling products such as refrigerant from air conditioning units, aerosol computer cleaners, shoe polish, glue, air fresheners, hair sprays, nail polish, paint solvents, degreasers, gasoline or lighter fluids, even though this practice can be deadly.

"Parents must wake up to the reality that their child might try huffing and the consequences could be devastating," said Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Administrator Pamela Hyde.
Medical experts say that use of inhalants can cause "Sudden Sniffing Death" – immediate death due to cardiac arrest – or lead to addiction and other health risks.

Parents and healthcare providers need to be aware of the dangers of huffing and know how to spot if their kids are taking part in this risky behavior. If your child has a chemical smell on his or her clothing or if his or her room smells like chemicals they might be huffing.

Severe headaches and chronic congestion are also signs of inhalant abuse.

"With data showing that young people often don’t perceive the great risk of abusing inhalants, we must redouble our efforts to inform adolescents of the dangers and to encourage parents to be more vigilant in protecting their children from inhalants often present in common household products," said Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy.ADNFCR-1662-ID-19685272-ADNFCR