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Inhalants: The New, Convenient High for Kids and Teens

cioeconomic status and poor school performance.

But spotting inhalant abuse can be hard, says Rosen. To help, he encourages parents to be on the look-out for these three signs of abuse:

? Mental and physical changes: “Some of the more important things for parents to look for are changes in behavior, school performance, grooming, weight, or peer group,” says Rosen. “These should all be red-alerts to parents that something serious may be going on with their child.”

? Tell-tale clues in the bedroom: “Parents often begin to worry when they unexpectedly find substances in their child’s room,” says Rosen. “They need to ask themselves why a can of gasoline would be in their child’s bedroom or why there are air fresheners under the bed or in the closet. These are all signs that a child may be abusing inhalants.”

? A rash around the nose or mouth: Some kids who are regularly using inhalants will develop a rash around their nose or mouth from the use of the inhalants.

While the effects of “huffing” are short-lived – children who are abusing inhalants are often disoriented, inattentive, irritable, drowsy, depressed and lacking in coordination – inhalant abuse can carry long-term health consequences that affect the brain, liver and heart. And inhalant abuse is suspected of causing chronic brain damage, says Rosen.

Inhalants also can cause death, even when used for the first time. “Sudden sniffing death syndrome” is a term used when inhalant use causes severe heart rhythm abnormality that leads to sudden death. And one in five kids who die from it is using inhalants for the very first time, notes Rosen.

Talk to your kids about inhalant abuse “If parents are concerned that their child might be using inhalants, the first thing to do is ask,” advises Rosen. “If your child denies it, but your suspicions are strong, it’s worth a trip to your primary health care provider. This provides your child with
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