We’ve all heard of sniffing glue, but glue isn’t the only vapor that people – and of particular concern to authorities, kids – are huffing these days.
According to the a survey by the National Institute on Drug Use (NIDU), 540,000 kids under 18 used inhalants to get high for the first time in 2010. And the inhalants they’re using are often the easiest and cheapest way for kids to abuse drugs.
The effects of huffing go beyond headaches and passing out. According to NIDU, certain solvents found in mothballs can damage the protective coating around nerve fibers in the brain, leading to a condition similar to Multiple Sclerosis.
Prolonged exposure to other inhalants, most of which contain known toxins, can do significant damage internal organs, including the heart, liver and kidneys. And of course, the lungs.
But the effects of huffing, like many other drugs, can reach beyond the user’s body.
A 28-year-old Maryland woman was found dead in Florida earlier this month after, according to her parents, she relapsed from treatment for an addiction to compressed gas used to clean keyboards, CBS12 reported.
Malia Manning, originally from Annapolis, was found dead behind a Wal-Mart with 15 cans of Dust Off, her mother told WUSA 9.
It’s the same product that police believe a 15-year-old in Butte Montana had been huffing before she crashed her car into a building, according to the Montana Standard.
Manning’s family started “Malia’s Hope,” a fund to help non-profits, schools and other groups fight addiction. Donations can be made online.
To keep an eye out for abuse by those around you, the National Institute on Drug Use lists these warning signs:
- Chemical odors on breath or clothing
- Paint or other stains on face, hands, or clothes
- Hidden empty spray paint or solvent containers, and chemical-soaked rags or clothing
- Drunk or disoriented appearance
- Slurred speech
- Nausea or loss of appetite
- Inattentiveness, lack of coordination, irritability, and depression