Inhaling Household Products to Get High Becoming Popular Again
Posted March 22, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST
FAYETTEVILLE — Without going into what you did or did not do growing up, keeping your own kids away from drugs is serious business.
Now, an old way of getting high is suddenly very hip and just as dangerous as always.
It is called sniffing or huffing, and within the past year, 22 percent of North Carolina ninth graders have done it. Now, the Partnership for a Drug-Free North Carolina is trying to warn parents in a shocking way before it is too late.
A newspaper ad paid for by Partnership for a Drug-Free North Carolina and America says it all. It gives directions on how to write an obituary for a teenager.
"It's an informative ad that tries to get the point across for parents, that parents need to talk to their children and parents need to understand the harmful, scary and even deadly effects," said S.M. Wood Jr. of Partnership for a Drug-Free NC.
Inhaling household products is the most likely method for middle school students to get high, because it is so easily accessible.
Its use is on the rise and includes nail polish remover, paint thinner and hundreds of other products found in many cabinets and garages.
"I can't say there's ever been an adolescent I've worked with that hasn't experienced some type of inhalant," said Jennette Celey of Another Chance.
Celey is a drug counselor. She says the ad is a powerful tool to prompt conversation. She has made parents write their child's obituaries in group settings. The response has been overwhelming.
"It brought reality to them. The emotions that flowed. The children were able to open up to their parents and see caring instead of that judgment," said Celey.
Drug-Free leaders say its a shock way to inform parents but a necessary one. If parents do not want to learn about obituaries, they say parents must learn about sniffing.
Some companies have started placing warnings on their labels. A Glade air freshener has its normal caution label and underneath that it says to avoid product abuse and keep out of the reach of teens.
The war against drugs is a long way from being won. A White House report released Tuesday says marijuana use is widespread especially among young people.
The twice-a-year study also says the street purity of heroin is higher than usual. Designer drugs, including a pill called Ecstasy, also remain very common on the streets.