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Teen Claims Glue-Sniffing Addiction

Feb. 19, 1963 - A 19-year-old youth in Salinas, California who claimed he was addicted to sniffing glue has been committed to Patton State Hospital for mental treatment. Judge J.T. Ciano did not commit him to the narcotics treatment center because glue is not a narcotic and because medical opinion holds that sniffing glue is habit-forming but not addicting. Model airplane glue-sniffing as problematic behavior among teenagers was first reported in 1959 and has been increasing in the U.S. The youth, Bill Johnson, walked into the San Bernardino police station Thursday and told the desk sergeant: “I need help. I go crazy when I try to get off glue. I know it’s bad for me.” He had a sock saturated with glue which he held to his nose from time to time. He resisted efforts to take it away, according to Detective Leonard Alter. Dr. Harry Brickman, head of the L.A. County Mental Health Department, said the difference between “habit-forming” and “addicting” is the difference between smoking cigarettes and taking heroin. The first is a hard-to-break habit, whereas the second becomes a necessity that creates physical problems called “withdrawal symptoms” when taken away.

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