Teens and "Huffing"

Medical professionals and law enforcement call it deadly a pastime.

“Huffing” is the term for getting high by inhaling toxic fumes from everyday household products. It's estimated that huffing caused more than 1,000 deaths last year. Child advocates say huffing is growing in popularity.

SGT Bruce Gaines of the Leon County Sheriff's Office says, "It appears to be a problem in other places. However, here in Leon County, in our schools, we've have seen very few cases. In those one or two cases it was younger kids experimenting."

Sue Sturgeon, a licensed clinical social worker, says, "There was a survey done in 2004 and they found that three percent of kids in the U.S. have used before the fourth grade in some form of inhalants."

One of the reasons experts say kids are huffing is because what they need is easier to get than alcohol.

Sue Sturgeon says, "It gives them a sensation similar to alcohol intoxication. It only lasts for a few seconds."

Dan Moynihan, Leon County EMS Chief, says, "Just one use of any of these huffing products can lead to death. It's not something that over the years will lead to an addiction."

Common household products include nail polish remover, spray paint and glue, lighter fluid, hair and deodorant spray, cleaning fluids, whipped cream canisters and cooking sprays.

Sue Sturgeon says, "It can do damage to the heart, brain, the major organs, liver kidneys."

Bruce Gaines adds, "Most of the inhalants, they appear to have more of a drowsy effect, spacey, they may appear to be intoxicated. You might even smell the gas fumes."

Police say that paying attention to your kids is another good defense