Inhalant Abuse, a New Trend in Drug Use

by Jessica Cervantez

Drug abuse experts say there's a potentially deadly new trend that parents need to be aware of. It is often called "huffing" or using inhalants to get high. Huffing itself isn't new. But the abuse of inhalants among very young kids, many in middle school, is growing.

But, there are some things parents can do to help protect their kids.

Inhalants cover a group of more than 2,000 common household products.

Shari Ratliff, with Nacogdoches Safe and Drug Free, said, "Parents need to be aware about what products are possibly abused, child-proofing a home, and making sure everything is locked up or not used without supervision."

Inhalant abuse is a growing trend. Leaders from the Nacogdoches Safe and Drug Free Coalition say it's a sensitive subject that may be difficult to talk to your children about.

Ratliff said, "Because you don't want to talk about specific products that your children could abuse if they didn't already know."

Ratliff says inhalant abuse isn't new, it comes and goes. But lately, it's becoming more popular with middle-school kids. In Nacogdoches, studies show the use of inhalants is about 5% higher than the state's average. Experts say that should concern everyone.

"The big concern is that these products are readily available. It's not something that's hard to get if you know what to look for they can get their hands on it," Ratliff said.

Parents must be aware of the dangers and the risks.

Ratliff said, "Look for empty cans, paper bags, blood-shot eyes, runny noses, and dirty rags."

And she says the scariest part is that the effects of abusing inhalants are completely unpredictable.

"Inhalant abuse is so scary, you can die using it one time," Ratliff said.

For information on what products in your home could be potentially dangerous to your children, contact Nacogdoches Safe and Drug Free Coalition at 564-2446.