A new study indicates that marijuana and alcohol use is declining among students in Cache, Rich and Box Elder counties, but a substance abuse counselor says glue-sniffing is making a comeback.
Doug Wiesse, director of the Bear River Alcohol and Drug Counseling Office, told his advisory board Friday that glue-sniffing is most prevalent among children in the 6th through 10th grades."Glue-sniffing is back, and in a psychological sense, it's a very tough addiction to deal with," he said. "Kids seem to do it because it's a cheap way to get a high and it's not illegal."
Wiesse said few children realize there is a real danger in the practice. He said inhaling airplane glue, gasoline or similar substances can cause serious problems with brain functions.
"One father put a locking gas cap on both the car and a gasoline can, but his son cut them off with a hacksaw to get to the gas," Wiessse said.
He said parents often are unaware of the addiction until health problems surface because the substances are so commonly available and inexpensive.
Moreover, Wiesse said, users are difficult to treat because they rationalize their actions by saying the substances are legal.
"Once we get them, our treatment is the same as for other substance addiction, but it's harder to cut through in most cases," he said. "Sniffing does tend to act as a gateway for some youngsters, where they start with that and progress to other drugs."
Wiesse said a recent study by the University of Utah at Box Elder and Bear River high schools showed marijuana use has declined considerably and alochol use is down slightly.
"We are encouraged by those results and hope it means our program's having an impact, but a lot of problems certainly still exist," he said.
Wiesse said the state Division of Alcohol and Drugs trains teachers and enourages them to include lessons about substance abuse as part of the regular curriculum.