Posted: May 12, 2005 9:42 am EST

Editorial: Inhalants are a growing problem (~7 col. in.)
by The Johnstown (Pa.) Tribune-Democrat
    Additional Information:

    An editorial: A whiff of danger/Abuse of inhaled substances rising

    Opinion: The Johnstown (Pa.) Tribune-Democrat

    What are your youngsters sniffing?
    According to a publication of Twin Lakes Center in Somerset, a Somerset County youth survey revealed that inhalants are the third-most-popular substance abuse, behind alcohol and tobacco.
    “Inhalants are substances that are rarely taken any way but via inhaling, producing a chemical vapor that is used/breathed for a quick high,” the publication says.
    “They can be easily obtained, are difficult to detect, legal and inexpensive. A weekly allowance could easily accommodate this sort of easy and quick high, often being used as a substitute for alcohol.
    “Youth believe these substances can’t hurt them and, once hooked, find it difficult to break the habit.”
    Actually, substances that are inhaled often are more harmful to the human body than even the illegal substances.
    They can cause long-lasting damage to the brain, heart, lungs and liver.
    In severe cases of abuse, inhalants cause death.
    In most cases, they result in debilitated health.
    Among the substances that can cause death, even on first contact, are butane, propane and the chemicals in aerosols.
    There are other effects, not as final or quick as death, but painful and very unpleasant in the long term. Many leave their ugly mark for the remainder of the abuser’s life.
    We aren’t going to list all of the inhalants commonly being used to cause artificial “highs” because young people don’t need to be given new ideas.
    We do urge that parents, educators and physicians be on the outlook for any signs of inhalant abuse and nip the practice in the bud.

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