According to a new survey we found on ABC News, at least one-in-14 teenagers has admitted to “huffing,” “bagging” or “sniffing” at least once in their lifetime. For those who don’t know, that’s the term for when kids inhale fumes from common household products – like hair spray, magic markers, glue, or shoe polish – in an attempt to get high. Experts say huffing isn’t a new problem, but this new survey suggests that by the age of 13, today’s kids are more likely to have tried huffing than they are to either smoke cigarettes, or use marijuana! Since the products involved are legal, and in almost every household, most kids assume they’re less dangerous than other drugs.
Huffing is so addictive, statistics show that kids who inhale daily generally die within a year! That’s because the euphoric “high” kids experience is so short-lived, they need to keep inhaling in order to stay high. Yet each time kids inhale, their heart rate speeds up, increasing their risk for a condition known as Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome. Experts say children are more sensitive to the dangers of huffing, because the mucus membrane in their nose and throat is still developing. So, any chemical they inhale will literally go straight into the bloodstream, boosting a child’s risk of organ failure or brain damage. That’s why many kids report blacking out or hallucinating while huffing!
The good news is that huffing addiction can be treated if it’s detected early enough. The most common red flags are slurred speech, glassy eyes, disorientation, or kids who stumble when they walk. Parents should also look for an unusual number of aerosol containers missing from the house, or stored in a teen’s room, since those are often used for huffing. If you suspect your child’s huffing, seek professional help immediately, because your intervention could literally save their life! For help finding a therapist, try this Website: Therapists.PsychologyToday.com.