Huffing cited as cause of Charleston youth inmates’ illness

Posted Nov. 01, 2012, at 2:48 p.m.

CHARLESTON, Maine — The three youths who fell ill Tuesday while being held at Mountain View Youth Development Center had been sniffing a chemical vapor, a Maine Department of Corrections spokeswoman said Thursday.

“They inhaled a chemical utilized in one of the vocational programs,” spokeswoman Judy Plummer said Thursday, adding that the incident remains under investigation. Confidentiality rules prohibited Plummer from disclosing the youths’ ages and whether they were male or female.

She confirmed that the three were engaging in a practice known as huffing, a form of substance abuse that involves the deliberate inhalation of chemical vapors in order to get high.

Inhalant abuse can result in death from the very first use, according to the Alliance for Consumer Education.

After being seen by the on-duty nurse, the three were sent by ambulance to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor about 8:45 p.m. Tuesday as a precaution, Plummer said. She said the youths were taken back to the state-owned correctional facility within a matter of hours.

Located on the grounds of the Charleston Correctional Facility, Mountain View can house up to 133 male and female juveniles from 11 to 21 years of age who are being detained or have been sentenced, according to the facility’s website.

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