By Scott Hensley
Preteens are far more likely to have huffed cleaning products to get high than to have toked up, government data show.
Survey results put the lifetime rate of inhalant use by 12-year-olds at 6.9 percent in 2008, just ahead of 5.1 percent for misuse of prescription drugs. Contrary to what you might think, marijuana isn't all that popular, with a lifetime use rate by age 12 of just 1.4 percent.
The numbers are being thrust into the spotlight by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to draw attention to the problem.
The range of products abused is startling--from air fresheners to shoe polish. Ashley Upchurch, a 17-year-old who appeared at a press briefing yesterday, talked with ABC News about her abuse, leading a reporter down the aisles of a pharmacy to explain what kids will sniff to get high.
The high is cheap and it's easy to get the stuff. The dangers aren't always so clear, and kids underestimate them.
Inhaling concentrated toxic vapors can damage the liver and other organs. Huffing can also cause "sudden sniffing death" when a kid's heart stops beating. That fatal problem is most often triggered by sprays containing butane and propane.
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