Health Team

'Huffing' Growing Danger Among Children

Posted April 5, 2007
Updated April 6, 2007

— Super glue, nail polish, hair spray may all look innocent enough, but kids are using those common items to get high. A new report found more than a million adolescents took part in "huffing" over the past year.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health said the problem is growing especially among girls.

"(Females are) more likely than male counterparts to use glue, shoe polish or toluin, spray paints, aerosol sprays and other spray paints," said Dr. Wesley Clark with the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

Like any drug, household chemicals can be deadly. Mona Casey's 15-year-old son, Charles, died last year from inhaling freon.

"He won't get to experience the beauty of falling in love, getting married and having children," she said.

Many of the inhalants that kids use have hydrocarbons. When those compounds are drawn into the lungs, they enter the brain, creating a feeling of intoxication. Dr. Theodore Bania, of St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, said too much "huffing" can wreak havoc on the body.

"It can result in brain damage, it can result in liver damage, it can result in kidney damage," Bania said.

Experts say the best thing parents can do is talk to their kids about it. Dan Coates said he wishes he had that conversation with his son, Brady. Last year, Brady died tying to get high off of butane.

"It's not a drug. It's poison and our kids need to understand that these chemicals that are in our kitchens, our garages, out buildings, they can all take your life in a matter of minutes," Coates said.


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  • suchhappiness Apr 13, 2007

    Superglue would be good if these kids would stick their lips together with it! Then, not only wouldn't they huff, they also wouldn't drink, smoke, talk back, etc.

  • cnaatmg Apr 13, 2007

    Where are the Parents during all of this when I was younger I had to be home at 11:30 and my parents knew at all times where I was.

  • cheekygreek Apr 13, 2007

    This happens more among the kids that are known as outcasts among their own community,and they are "Emo's and Goth's".Huffing is getting bigger by the day in these groups.

  • seeingthru Apr 12, 2007

    think about it alcohol drugs huffing it's all escapism pure and simple

  • DarnYouu Apr 12, 2007

    Doesn't huffing cause brain damage? Can't the kids see that???

  • Joy4u2 Apr 12, 2007

    Kids now days have no respect of any thing or any body my daughter has a son just turned 16. He calls her all kinds of name's and listens to the God forsaken music thats sounds like saten himself. He does not do this in front of me because he knows better, to curse me and a mouth full of Joy dish washing soap because he's still not to big enough for me to do it. Parents need to tighen down on teens, they may know what they are doing at home ,but not at school.

  • XRAYMAMA Apr 11, 2007

    This is crazy. If these kids would put as much effort into their education as they do trying to find ways to "escape reality" the world would be overcome with rocket sciencetists. I have a 13month old little boy and stories like this scare the crap out of me. Stuff like that never crossed my mind when I was a kid.

  • mslisac363 Apr 11, 2007

    "people get high to escape reality" I guess we got to make something up for these sick people. If you don't like reality then do something to change it. What kind of reality is there when these kids damage their brains. Most of these kids are looking for fun. Get a life.

  • GoodToGo Apr 11, 2007

    Can anyone out there tell me what process WRAL uses to decide which stories have to have comments approved before the print them in the comments?...I just don't understand why they choose to censure some story comments and not it because they have thir own agenda and the comments don't go along with their view or what??

  • GoodToGo Apr 11, 2007

    When I was a young boy...back in the 60's....we huffed gas...
    just take the gas cap off and a ready supply to get you high!...we were stupid then and some are stupid will continue that way...every new generation will come up with what they think will be a new way....just hope God watches over them like he did us!