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Huffing dispenses quick, dangerous high

In order to protect the identity of the students, both from FC and other schools, the names in this article have been replaced with pseudonyms.

Nothing goes better with an apple pie than whipped cream. Running down to the local beauty supply store to buy a can of hairspray is a perfectly innocent errand. Cleaning a dirty keyboard with an air duster is a simple routine. While doing these things is routine, these aerosol cans, which produce CO2, have become a new drug trend for teens today.

In the last three months alone, 77 American teenagers have died from ‘huffing’ drugs, and these numbers continue to grow rapidly. Huffing is the act of inhaling harmful drugs found in aerosal cans for a “high” feeling.

The new trend in drug use has taken a cheap, common turn. This innocent-looking hobby, in which these cans are placed in the mouth and inhaled, looks harmless. However, huffing can cause devastating, and sometimes fatal, endings.

According to Dr., “When huffing doesn’t kill quickly, it damages the body each time–especially the brain. Huffing can cause memory loss, impaired concentration, hearing loss, loss of coordination, and permanent brain damage. Chronic use can cause permanent heart, lung, liver, and kidney damage as well.”

The drug that gives people a high in these common household products is called Difluoroethane. It gives about a 45 second high in which users may experience a ‘vibrating’ feeling, or blacking out.

Bobby, a senior, says his first experience with huffing was not impressive.

“I was working at a landscaping company during the summer in the seventh grade, and got offered air dusters by some of the guys I worked with,” he said. “I took it and didn’t really feel anything. I just remember it changing my voice and making it deeper. I doubt I’d do it again; it was stupid and immature. I’d rather do something more hard core.”

According to, huffing can be more dangerous than many hard drugs such as marijuana, heroin or pain killers.

Difluoroethane has many effects on the body and mind. When it touches the skin, it can cause frostbite and blistering, eye contact can cause blindness, and when ingested, frostbite can occur.

Long-term affects include cardiac arrest, suffocation, brain damage, muscle damage, bone marrow damage and even cancer. According to medical journals, ‘huffing’ has been linked with suicidal thoughts and behavior in teens.

Consulted doctors refrained from discussing this new, controversial problem.

According to Derek, a junior, huffing is cheap and feels like nothing else, making it worth the risks — although they are not apparent.

“I’ve done ‘whippets’ (small metal cylindars containing nitris oxide), about four times and it’s like no other feeling,” he said. “I’m sure if my parents knew they would be really angry, but it doesn’t hurt your lungs and it’s so easy to use.”

Sean, a senior, says he cannot believe the practice can be so harmful.

“It’s just the stuff they use in whipped cream cans and you can buy it freely without an ID,” he said. “It doesn’t even feel hard on the lungs at all compared to smoking marijuana.”

Over 35 household items can also be abused. These include nail polish, paint thinner, mothballs, waxes, lighter fluid, kerosene and even permanent markers.

A parent of three claims she did not grasp the ease with which household items could be abused.

“I had no idea that air conditioning Freon could be abused,” she said. “There are so many common things that can be abused; it’s amazing. I know what it’s like to wonder if your child is going to be alive the next day because of strong drug abuse. It’s terrifying.”

For more information about huffing, check out, the National Drug Intelligence Center’s Web site or or a parent’s personal account about huffing.

For readers or readers’ loved ones who have struggled with huffing or any other addiction problems, a 24-hour addiction help line is available at 800-559-9503, where callers will be referred to a local center for help and support.

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    Bree AinleyFeb 21, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Giants fan til’ the day I die. I was soooo happy the won, literally screaming and basically crying.