It’s not just the usual illicit drugs and abused prescriptions which parents need to be concerned about anymore. I’ve recently learned of several tragic incidents caused by middle school students “huffing.” Although the practice of abusing common chemicals found in products from glue to carpet cleaners to aerosol cans has been around for years, incidents involving young teens have dramatically increased. Here is some basic information for parents on this form of chemical abuse. Huffing: Inhalant abuse (huffing) is when people inhale chemical vapors to get high. The results can be debilitating and actually cause death. Today many household products are being used as inhalers. According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, a primary user group is 12-17 year olds. Inhalant users tend to include people that do not have access to other drugs or alcohol, such as children and teenagers.

Signs of Abuse • Drunk or disoriented appearance • Paint or other stains on face, hands, or clothing • Hidden empty spray paint or solvent containers and chemical-soaked rags or clothing • Slurred speech • Strong chemical odors on breath or clothing • Nausea or loss of appetite • Red or runny nose • Sores or rash around the nose or mouth