Reports of teens abusing inhalants continue downward

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Reports of teens abusing inhalants continue downward

Great Post Gazette article about downward trend in local inhalant abuse

Wednesday, May 26, 2010
By Pohla Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Products abused in huffing can seem everyday, but they can be deadly.

Huffing, or inhaling substances like glues, paints and aerosols to get high, is seen most often among younger adolescents and in rural areas, according to local experts and a recent national study. The good news: The phenomenon has been on the decline across the United States.

“Around here, I don’t think it’s as big a problem as in other places, like Colorado or the Southwest,” said Michael Lynch, an emergency room physician and toxicologist with the Pittsburgh Poison Center at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

“In the past there’s been a problem, but not for two or three years,” Bruce Dixon, director of the Allegheny County Health Department, said. “We had problems [then] where people were inhaling airplane glue and organic solvents used as cleaning products.

“Certainly there’s been no fatalities, and hospitals would have called if we had anything untoward going on.”

Dr. Dixon said the age group involved was “anyplace from 13 to 17 or 18. It tended to be the younger ones. The older ones were into marijuana, cigarette smoking, things like that.”

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