Is Your Child or Teen "Huffing"?

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Common Household Products - A Source of Inhalant Abuse

Reports in 2005 about teens dying after inhaling the chemical difluoroethane from a popular computer-cleaning spray known as Dust-Off called widespread attention to the practice of inhalant abuse. Then, as now, the product Dust-Off itself was not the source of the problem; it is only one example of hundreds of common household products with the potential to be abused by inhalant abusers.

Inhalant abuse (commonly called "huffing") is the intentional inhalation of chemical vapors to attain a mental "high" or euphoric effect. A wide variety of substances, including many common household products, are abused by inhalers (see list below). The 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) revealed that the primary population of inhalant abusers (68%) is under 18 years of age. Although inhalant abuse is declining from its peak in the 1990s, it is still a significant problem. In 2011, 7% of eighth graders reported inhalant use, along with 4.5% of 10th graders and 3.2% of 12th graders.

Inhalants produce an effect that may be similar to alcohol intoxication. Initial symptoms described by abusers who were "huffing" include