Though “huffing” isn’t in the news as much as it used to be, notes Gainesville (GA) Times writer Debbie Gilbert, this dangerous practice is still a threat to America’s children and youth.|
Huffing involves inhaling fumes from such ordinary household products as aerosol sprays, cleaning fluids, and nail polish. Substance abuse therapists are seeing more and more young people developing a compulsion for huffing, which can be deadly.
Gilbert notes that “a single exposure can result in a phenomenon called sudden sniffing death, where the person quickly goes into cardiac arrest.
Furthermore, huffers are often younger than most drug abusers, the article stresses. While it’s usually difficult for elementary aged children to get their hands on marijuana or “hard” drugs, the tools needed for huffing are as close as their own kitchen or bathroom, or are easy to buy from the neighborhood grocery store or pharmacy.
Children as young as 7 or 8 years old are reported abusers and kids with ADHD are found to be more vulnerable to such substance abuse. Because children with ADHD act impulsively, notes the author, it’s often more difficult to monitor their habits and nab the huffing problem before it goes too far.
The article stresses that quick intervention is crucial as the longer huffing is left unchecked, the harder the habits are to reverse.
Unless it’s addressed, the addiction can become a vicious cycle. "Inhalants increase anxiety and excitability, and can exacerbate mood disorders and violent behaviors," says Cindy Rivera, area services director for Georgia Mountains Community Services, the mental health agency in Gainesville.