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US teens high on inhalants

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Inhalants are being used more often than marijuana or prescription painkillers by kids on the brink of being teenagers, a new government report shows.
Inhaling common household products such as shoe polish, glue, aerosol air fresheners, hair sprays, nail polish, paint solvents, degreasers, gasoline and lighter fluid now appears to be the preferred way to get high in this age group, health officials note.
In the past year, 3.4 percent of 12-year-olds report using an inhalant, while only 1.1 percent tried marijuana, and 2.7 percent took prescription painkillers.
That trend continued with 13-year-olds, with 4.8 percent using inhalants, four percent trying marijuana, and 3.9 percent taking prescription painkillers.
By age 14, inhalant use dropped behind the use of marijuana, painkillers and other drugs.
Over one million kids using inhalantsThe National Inhalant Prevention Coalition, with sponsorship from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, presented the results of these studies at a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington.
“Our data show that 1.1 million 12- to- 17-year-olds acknowledge using inhalants last year,” said Dr H. Westley Clark, director of the US Centre for Substance Abuse.
“Our data also indicate that there are almost 600 000 teenagers who start using inhalants annually.”
However, inhalants can cause neurological damage, along with sudden death from cardiac reactions or lack of oxygen, Clark said. Although many adolescents die from using inhalants each year, an exact number isn’t known.
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