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It's called huffing/sniffing - inhaling chemical vapors to get high. It's usually associated with teenage drug abuse, but a report suggests that's not really the case. The majority of Americans abusing inhalants are not children but adults, according to a study from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. That's more than those who used crack or LSD, heroin or PCP.

Long-term inhaling and sniffing can lead to irreversible damage to the brain, lungs, liver, kidneys and eyes. Sudden sniffing death, the coalition says, can  occur even the first time.

According to the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition, a wide range of common household/office products are abused:

  • Air fresheners
  • Computer keyboard cleaner
  • Cooking sprays
  • Correction fluid 
  • Deodorant
  • Freon
  • Gasoline
  • Glue
  • Hairspray 
  • Helium
  • Household cleaners
  • Markers
  • Nail polish remover
  • Pain thinner
  • Spot removers
  • Spray paint

Some tell-tale signs of inhalant abusers:

  • Constantly smelling sleeves or other parts of clothing
  • Having numerous butane lighters and refills, gasoline or paint soaked rags, or used spray paint cans around the house
  • Hiding rags, plastic sandwich bags, clothing or empty containers of the potentially abused products in closets, under the bed or in the garage
  • Painting fingernails with magic markers or correction fluid
  • Sitting with a pen or marker held close to the nose
  • Trying to  hide paint or stain marks on face, lips, nose, fingers or clothing

For more information, please call the Banner Poison & Drug Information Center directly at (602) 253-3334 or call (800) 222-1222 for your local poison center.