Inhalant Abuse Of Children On The Rise

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

It's becoming an epidemic.

"My dad found me passed out with my mouth about that far away from the gas," said a young teen.

New research shows that one in every five kids will try 'huffing', as they call it, before they graduate high school.

"Inhalants are so common to get a hold of. They're household products that you can find under the kitchen sink or in the garage and they're cheap," said Dr. Mark Kirk, a Toxicologist at UVA.

Propellants and hydrocarbons are found in products like these, and are abused by kids as young as eight years old. The effects can be as mild as a brief high and as severe as sudden death.

"It's like playing Russian Roulette because it's unpredictable. It can happen the first time someone does this, the tenth time or the hundredth time they use it," said Kirk.

The survey shows inhalant abuse is far more prevalent than parents realize.

"Smelling something like gasoline and finding that the fumes are not obnoxious--that they enjoy smelling the can progress from that point on," said Sue Kell, a coordinator from Blue Ridge Poison Center.

Officials said some of the symptoms parents should look for are staring them in the face.

"Finding things like sores on their mouth and face and nose or just a difference in how they're performing in school. Being a little bit lethargic or acting drunk and uncoordinated. Those are all warning signs," said Kirk.

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