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Huffing and Suicide Related, New Study Suggests

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“Huffing,” or inhaling volatile chemicals to get high, is associated with increases in suicidal thought and suicide attempts among adolescents, according to researchers at the University of Denver.

Researchers Stacey Freedenthal and Jeffrey M. Jenson of the university's Graduate School of Social Work and colleagues studied a group of incarcerated youth and found that 33 percent reported huffing, 25 percent had attempted suicide, and 58 percent reporting having suicidal thoughts.

Moreover, suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts were more prevalent among those whose use of inhalants was higher, especially among girls. Researchers said huffing and suicide were connected, although they could not say which came first.

“Inhalant use has many serious, physiological consequences, including death,” said Freedenthal. “Now we are learning ever more strongly that they are also linked to suicidal thoughts and behaviors.”

The study appears in the September 2007 issue of the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

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