Inhalant abuse on the rise amongst teenagers - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Inhalant abuse on the rise amongst teenagers

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BECKLEY -

Even if your teenager avoids marijuana, pills, and other drugs that doesn't mean he or she can't get high.

And the accessibility of this newly popularized substance abuse, huffing, is probably much closer than you think.

The term "huffing" is referred to inhaling common house-hold items. According to a recent health article, 1 in 5 eighth graders have tried to get high from items right in their own house. 59 News took this information to the streets of Beckley to find out from parents, what they know about this new form of substance abuse.

"No, I did not know that. I did know it was an issue, but I didn't know by that much," said Beckley parent Tamera Lagowski.

"They take a part of that and kids are too influential as opposed to the past. It's what's readily available to them," said parent Kelly Stafford.

Everyday household items such as nail polish, hair spray and cooking spray are actually the most common forms of inhalant substance abuse and they can all be found in your kitchen cabinet.

"It's a constant worry of what his friends are getting into, what's the things that he's getting into, what all is going on now, all possibilities of what could happen," Stafford said.

According to the article, toxic chemicals enter the lungs and pass through the blood and into the brain. This can lead to brain damage, muscle spasms, permanent nervous system damage or sometimes death.

Parents attribute this desire to get high or escape from life to the pressures of society.

"Probably societal pressure and curiosity and that one time that takes it for a kid to try it. The kids goat each other and say oh just try it once, and then that's it, it could just be one time," believes Stafford.

"Kids these days have a lot of pressure put on them. Because you always have to be the best, the fastest, the smartest, the prettiest. That's society, they do that to them," said Lagowski.

Communication and being involved in their kids lives, parents said, are the best ways to combat huffing and other substance abuse.

"I'm very involved. I know what's on their phone, I have their Facebook and Twitter accounts. I look, I know, I see. I'm involved in their social life and their social networking," Lagowski added.

Warning signs of those abusing inhalants include slurred speech, loss of appetite, nausea, anxiety or irritability.