More Kids Getting High Off Household Inhalants

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WASHINGTON - Sniffing common household products has become the favored high among young teens and pre-teens.

Health experts at a Washington, D.C., news conference warned Thursday that kids are abusing inhalants far more than any other kind of illegal substance.

A new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reveals while just one out of a thousand 12-year-olds have used cocaine and 14 out of 1,000 have smoked marijuana, almost 70 out of 1,000 have huffed inhalants.

See related links below to learn more about inhalants and the dangers they have.

That's how Kevin Talley of Lexington, N.C., lost his teen daughter Amber Ann Suri in February 2009.

"It's going to kill you. Period. That's what it does," he said. "It's not prejudiced. It doesn't care what color, how tall, how small, how big, fat or skinny you are. It doesn't matter. It's going to kill you."

Dr. Jennifer Caudle warned that death can come the first time out.

"There's a syndrome called Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome. That's the idea: that even after one use, you can die from inhalant abuse," she explained.

Ashley Upchurch has spent the last two years beating back an addiction to inhalants. She tells kids it's not a glamorous habit.

"You're not going to look cool if you have a can of air duster in your mouth or if your parents have to find you dead," she said.

Talley shared some of the signs to look for that your child might be abusing inhalants.

"Glassy eyes, pungent smell, their attitude changes," she said. "They're tired all the time. Sore throat, runny nose, frostbite on their tongue."

Caudle added that, "Constantly runny nose, conjungtivitis or irritated eyes, mouth lesions, nose lesions, nose bleeds," are also symptoms.

And Caudle warns since huffing sends toxins straight to the brain, it can cause all sorts of nasty neurological harm.

"Dementia, the memory loss, the confusion, not thinking right, just not being able to put things together," she continued. "Being a little bit slow, maybe a little wobbly, off-balance, numbness, tingling."

The health experts warned children can turn so many products into deadly inhalants. Glue, spray paint, hair sprays, solvents, degreasers, lighter fluids and gasoline are examples.

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Paul Strand

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As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.