Inhaling toxic substances or “huffing” is on the rise with kids and can quickly become an addiction. It has been catching parents off guard because they are unaware that normal household items could be harmful to their kids.
Drug experts say 1 in 5 kids inhale some type of substance or chemical before they reached 8th grade. The inhalants can damage your brain, liver and can even lead to death.
The Mesa County Coroner said it has 1 to 2 deaths a year from people inhaling compressed air.
However, Grand Junction Addiction Counselor Stephen Anthony said deaths like these can be prevented, "What can a parent do so that their child doesn't go down this road? Number one, be aware. Number two, make sure that you are connecting with your child everyday.
Anthony suggests parents install a valve on their air conditioning unit or refrigeration system to keep their kids from huffing. Starting a conversation with their children is important to reduce the need to use these substances. He also said that he has not had too many cases come into his office, but it doesn't mean its not a problem.
The Grand Junction police department said they occasionally get reports of huffing and it is considered a criminal offense, called abusing toxic vapors. The crime covers a wide variety of toxic chemicals.
Anthony suggests if parents have questions, they visit www.inhalants.org.