Skip links

The Dangers of Teen Huffing and Inhalants

The Shocking News about Aaron Carter’s Huffing Addiction

Last month, the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office confirmed that famous boy band member, Aaron Carter, died as a result of accidental drowning brought on by the effects of huffing and Xanax. While we are very much in the midst of a fentanyl epidemic, Aaron Carter’s death is a reminder of the dangers of teen huffing.

What is Huffing?

Huffing is the intentional inhalation of chemical vapors to get high. Inhalants are readily available and can be found in grocery and other stores that are easily accessible to teens. Teens use common household items such as cleaning products, aerosol sprays, and even cooking sprays to huff.

The products teens use to huff are inexpensive and the act of huffing may seem harmless. In fact, huffing is very dangerous and can be deadly.

Common Household Products Used for Huffing

Inhalant abuse (sometimes referred to as huffing, bagging, sniffing, and dusting) is a quick, inexpensive way for teens to get high. Products that teens abuse are everywhere. In fact, they are under the bathroom cabinet, desktops, and kitchen sink. According to American Addiction Centers, more than 1,400 home products can be used for huffing. Here is a brief list of inhalants that teens commonly abuse:

  1. Aerosol sprays like air fresheners, hairspray, and spray paint
  2. Cleaning products such as bleach, furniture polish, and oven cleaner
  3. Nitrous oxide – commonly known as “whippets,” nitrous oxide can be found in whipped cream canisters and small cartridges
  4. Solvents like gasoline, lighter fluid, and paint thinner.
  5. Glue and adhesives found in rubber cement, superglue, and model glue

It is important to note that even seemingly harmless household products, such as cooking spray or magic markers are often misused. They, too, pose danger.

The Dangers of Teen Huffing that Every Parent Should Know

Attention Parents! Watch for unusual behavior, including chemical odors on clothing or breath that may indicate your teen is abusing inhalants.

The signs of huffing abuse can vary depending on the individual and the frequency of use. However, common symptoms include:

  • Chemical odors on breath or clothing
  • Slurred speech or disorientation
  • Red or glassy eyes
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness

These symptoms can begin immediately after use or later. It’s essential to be vigilant and pay attention to any changes in your child’s behavior or appearance.

The Dangerous Health Consequences of Huffing

The consequences of huffing can be severe and even life-threatening. Some short-term effects include:

  • Headaches or migraines
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness and disorientation
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Loss of consciousness

Repeated huffing abuse can lead to long-term health consequences, including:

  • Brain damage
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Hearing and vision loss
  • Bone marrow damage
  • Damage to the nervous system

These long-term consequences can have a profound impact a teens quality of life. And, in extreme cases, huffing abuse can be fatal. Aaron Carter died from an accidental drowning after huffing and taking an anti-anxiety medication.

Educate Your Teens about the Dangers of Huffing

Communication and a healthy family dynamic can safeguard teens from the dangers of addiction. Talk to your kids about addiction and educate them so they know what is dangerous long before a drug is offered to them.

I’m a recovering addict. My parents did talk to me about the dangers of drinking and drugs. But they never talked to me about inhalant abuse. Huffing was not on their radar, and it was never on mine. When I was sixteen, a friend introduced me to whippets. I thought it was a harmless high that was no different than inhaling air from a helium balloon. I only did it a few times. But had I known that it could kill me or that it could cause brain damage, I’d have said no.

Encourage your child to find healthy coping mechanisms and make sure they are comfortable talking to you or someone else if they feel overwhelmed or stressed. Also, consider keeping household chemicals locked up and out of reach to reduce the risk of accidental inhalation.

If You or a Loved One is Struggling with Huffing or Inhalant Abuse, Help Is Available!

The tragic death of Aaron Carter is a stark reminder of the dangers associated with huffing. Through education, communication, and support, we can protect kids from the dangers of teen huffing and inhalants.

If you or a loved one is struggling with huffing, Breakthrough Recovery Outreach can help. Please contact us so we can talk to you about our residential recovery treatment options for teens and adults. Our Team is committed to helping teens and adults break the cycle of addiction. Let us help you today.