Blog Report

Monday, December 22, 2008

NC Rotary Club Learns About Inhalant Abuse















Nick Petrakis recently spoke to the Cleveland School Rotary Club in North Carolina. He spoke about “substance abuse, specifically Inhalant Abuse, the signs the everyday citizens can look for in their friends, families, and colleagues, and the preventative measures that can be taken.”

Nick has a personal attachment to this issue, having lost his brother (age 37) to Inhalants in May 2008.

During the presentation he “showed a short compelling video about the dangers and warning signs of Inhalant Abuse” and “provided a pamphlet detailing tips for talking to children and teens as well as what to do in case of an emergency.”

It also notes, “Mr. Petrakis continues to make it his mission to get the word out. If you'd like more information on the subject of Inhalant Abuse or would like to have Nick speak at your next meeting, please contact him at Nick@triangleinspro.com.”
Thank you Nick, for all of your work in helping to make more families and communities aware of this devastating issue.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Inhalant Use Increase in Florida

From MSNBC/WBBH-TV in Ft Myers Florida:

The article points out that “the use of inhalants among Collier County middle school students has nearly doubled in recent years from 12% up to 21%.”

Inhalant Use Increase in Maine

In his blog, Larry T. Doughty refers to inhalant abuse data from Brewster, Maine:

68% of the middle and high school students in Brewer County participated in the survey which was “conducted by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Office of Substance Abuse under the state’s Bureau of Health and Human Services.”

The article highlights that across all categories, use has declined with one exception –inhalant use. 11% of Brewer students say they have tried inhalants- compared to the state’s average of 10.8%.

The article continues, “for Brewer, inhalant use by sixth- and eighth-graders far exceeded the state averages, while use by all other grades fell well below their statewide counterparts.”

There is also an interesting point in the comments section of the blog. One student writes, “Perhaps reading Myspace and Facebook pages would provide school administrators with a more accurate representation of substance use amongst its students. Low numbers are great, but I don't believe they are completely accurate. I remember taking this survey. We all joked about how we "lied" on it. Don't rely soley on this survey is all I'm saying...”

Your thoughts on this?

Partnership's Response to Monitoring the Future Data

Partnership for a Drug-Free America issued a press release in response to the Monitoring the Future Study.

Under reasons for concern they note "the second area of concern is among eighth graders, where there has been a weakening in the perceived risk of using inhalants -- household products that are sniffed to get high. In 2008, this age group also reported a lower rate of disapproval of this behavior."



Thursday, December 18, 2008

44 Percent Decline in Inhalant Use in Virginia

From the Chesterfield Observer in Virginia:

The SAFE (Substance Abuse Free Environment) annual report for 2007-08 was just released. The organization is “a coalition of members of Chesterfield County government, schools and the community, have been addressing alcohol and drug issues among the county's youth population since 1993.”

The report shows a “44 percent decrease in inhalant abuse among eighth-grade students over the past two years.”

Visit www.chesterfieldsafe.org for more information about the report – and about their inhalant prevention activities.

15 Year Old Found Dead After Huffing

From WINKNews.com in Fort Myers, Florida:

Last week a 15 year-old female died after huffing computer dusting spray. Her parents were the ones who found her unresponsive in the bathtub.

Dr. Delgado from Drug Free Collier notes that the “the subject may be difficult” but she adds, “it's important to talk about this silent epidemic.” Additionally she states, "Parents and teachers have to keep an eye on products that have at home and track them to see if they're disappearing too quickly. Are there plastic bags in a child's room? Are there funny smells or stains on their clothes?"

3 Inhalant Cases in 1 Month in Nebraska

From Omaha World Herald in Nebraska:

The Lincoln Police Department has expressed concern about the increase in recent inhalant abuse cases involving computer dusting sprays.

Last month, a 19 year-old male died after huffing. A plastic bag and a can of computer duster were found next to him. Last week a 36 year-old male was also found dead with a can of duster in his hand.

Police noted that “other empty cans were recovered” in that case and that “autopsy results showed the two died of asphyxia by suffocation after inhaling the substances.”

Earlier this month, a 28 year-old man was “found slumped in his car in Lincoln with a can of dust remover in his hand.” The man was “treated and cited for the crime.”

The Omaha City Prosecutor indicated “he sees perhaps a dozen cases a year” and they “typically involve adults whose lives are in shambles and are huffing in alleys.”

The Nebraska Regional Poison Center in Omaha states that inhalant related calls to the help line “increased from 25 in 2005 to 35 so far this year.”

Huffing on the Increase in Austin, Minnesota

From KAAL-TV in Rochester, MN

Police in Austin, Minnesota note that arrests for inhalant abuse have been increasing.

A chemical dependency counselor at the high school is quoted as stating, "Huffing is an issue because of the availability piece. There are not a lot of statues that say you can't buy spray paint,"

New Anti-Inhalant Campaign in Singapore

From a blog in Singapore:

The National Council Against Drug Abuse (NCADA) has released a new inhalant abuse prevention campaign. The project includes a series of outdoor ads depicting through letters, people's real life experiences with inhalant abuse.

Additionally, four spots are “running in movie theatres and on TV mobile as well as executions on train station platforms and public toilet doors.”

109 Empty Cans of Computer Duster Found in His Car

From the NewsOK.com in Oklahoma

A 24 year-old man was jailed after police found him passed out in his car in a Walmart Supercenter at 7:45 pm.

The police report states that “the officer noticed 109 empty cans of dust remover in the vehicle.”

He spent Saturday in jail and was “released Sunday on his own recognizance.”

Concern on Huffing Inquiries

Bob Sullivan of MSNBC brings up a valid concern over the availablity of huffing related information on Yahoo Answers:

He notes, "for example, there are detailed instructions on various forms of “huffing,” a way of concentrating the power of typical inhalants that can be found in household products."

Please read his piece and let us know your thoughts on this.

Glue-Sniffing on the Rise in Vietnam

From Bernama in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Officials in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City are concerned about the recent increase in teenage use of inhalants, specifically a light yellow liquid glue. The article notes that previously this issue had “plagued Western countries.”

The article interviews teens on why they sniff glue and frighteningly, some of the kids are only 9 or 10 years old. One states, "We are inhaling glue, it is not drugs. We are not afraid of being arrested like drug users, but it still makes us euphoric,"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

MN Woman Jailed for Driving While Under Use of Inhalants

From the Post-Bulletin in Rochester, MN:

On Thursday, December 11th at 11:45 pm, a woman was arrested and jailed “for driving while impaired, abusing a toxic substance (inhalant), violating probation, underage drinking and driving after revocation.”

Inhalant Warning from South Africa

From the Limpopo Informant in Polokwane,South Africa:

An interesting inhalant abuse warning about huffing and some of the new trends related to it. The article notes that a majority of children in the 8th grade are involved with huffing.

Additionally, it notes, "other popular substances young teens huff include insect repellent, thinners, baking spray and deodorant. But by far the most dangerous could be when they take a light bulb, break it off at the neck, pour methylated spirits into it, heat it at the bottom and inhale the vapour that is produced."

Community Service for Inhalant Related Explosion

From Longmont Daily News in Colorado:

Three female teenagers (ages 18, 16 and 16) who were injured in a huffing related incident on October 23rd are now engaged in a “local restorative justice program.”

The three were injured when after huffing air fresheners in a car. One of them lit a cigarette. The car was totaled and the three teens suffered burns.

The charges were listed as follows: “Police ticketed the 18-year-old driver on suspicion of abusing toxic vapors and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The 16-year-old girl in the front passenger seat of the car was ticketed on suspicion of abusing toxic vapors, and the 16-year-old in the back seat was ticketed on suspicion of abusing toxic vapors and fourth-degree arson.”

However, with the restorative justice program, the girls “can avoid criminal convictions if they complete their contracts. If they don’t, they will be referred back to the criminal justice system.”

The girls had to meet “with people affected by the explosion including two police officers, a volunteer fireman, three adult community members, two volunteer facilitators and one advocate for each of the teens.”Each of the teens will also “have to write letters of “apology and reflection” to the people affected by the explosion; research and write an educational presentation for school resource officers to use or for their own use; and participate in CPR classes, drug testing, an employment search, and 10 hours a month in a recreational program to get exercise.”

Thursday, December 4, 2008

22 Year Old Man Guilty of Huffing with 13 Year Old Girl

From KSFY in South Dakota:

Earlier this week a 22 year old man “pleaded guilty to two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”

The charges stem from an incident on June 19th when a 13-year-old girl was found “unconscious and unresponsive” in his home. The 22 old man had been “huffing aerosol cans” with the girl.

The 13 year-old was “rushed to the hospital where she stayed for several weeks.”

Man Sentenced for Duster Related Accident

From KOTA Radio in South Dakota:

Last May a 25 year old man caused an accident after huffing while driving. After huffing computer duster he crashed into another car, resulting in that car’s driver sustaining a traumatic brain injury.

This week the 25 year old man was “sentenced to six months in jail and ten years probation.” He must also “complete 300 hours of community service.”

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

14 Year Old Killed at Bus Stop: Inhalant-Related Car Crash

From Examiner.com

Just outside Los Angeles, a van crashed into a bus stop, “killing a 14-year-old and injuring four other teenagers.”

The 18 year old driver was arrested after police “determined he may have been using an inhalant when he lost control of his van.”

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Father Found Huffing with One Month Old Baby in Car

From Gant Daily in Pennsylvania:

Last Friday evening, police responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle. They determined that a 26 year old man “was huffing paint in the vehicle with his one month old child inside.”

They also found out that he “had been doing so almost daily for over a month.”

The father has been “arraigned and charged with felony, endangering the welfare of a child and other related offenses.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Chester County Inhalant Use Higher Than National Average

From Kennett Paper in Pennsylvania:

The Chester County Council on Addictive Diseases (COAD) presented the results of the Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) to the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District administration. The presentation was held as a “Communities That Care” meeting.

The survey includes data from students in sixth, eighth, tenth and twelfth grades and revealed that in the past 30 days, “1.5% of seniors had used inhalants, versus 1.7 statewide and 1.2 nationally.”

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Inhalant Abuse Increases in Lee County

From the Cape Coral Daily Breeze:

The 2008 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey results were also released.

For Lee County, “overall drug and alcohol abuse among teenagers has declined, yet inhalants and over-the-counter drugs are being misused more commonly.”

The report shows “use of inhalants this year INCREASED from 12.8% to 14.6%.

Middle School Inhalant Use Twice State Average

From the Worcester Telegram in Massachusetts:

The 2008 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (5th - 8th graders) revealed that “more than twice as many Oxford Middle School students have used inhalants than the state average.”

10.4% of the middle schoolers had used inhalants.

College Student Dies from Huffing

From Chicago Tribune:

On Saturday, the body of a 19 year old Illinois Institute of Technology student was found at his on campus fraternity house. The medical examiner reports that he died from asphyxia after inhaling nitrous oxide, “a gas used to dispense whipped cream and as a dental anesthetic.”

His family had reported him missing eight days ago but it wasn’t until Saturday night that one of the fraternity brothers found him in a storage room of the house. “Multiple small nitrous oxide canisters, known by the slang name "whippets," were found near his body.”

Friday, November 21, 2008

Inhalant Use Rises in Canada

From the Prince Albert Daily Herald in Saskatchewan,Canada:

The community in Prince Albert is seeing an increase in the number of individuals using inhalants.

At one presentation, “nearly every student knew someone who was currently using inhalants or had tried them.” The article also notes, “ one student described how he began experimenting with aerosols - as a child he saw what his mom was doing and wanted to try it.”

Man Passes Out After Huffing Dusters

From NewsCow in Cowley County Kansas:

An Arkansas City man “was cited Tuesday for abusing toxic vapors after he apparently became ill from huffing computer dusters and passed out at his residence.”

Officers responded to the scene and then called paramedics to evaluate the man.

Inhalant Data - Fairfax County, Virginia

From Falls Church News Press in Virginia:

The results of the 2008 Fairfax County Youth Survey were recently announced. The survey compiles information from “more than 22,000 public school students in the 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grades.”

A few notables regarding inhalant use:

  • Overall, lifetime inhalant use for 8th, 10th and 12th grades has DECREASED from 2001-2008 (-.2%) but INCREASED from 2005-2008 (.2%) – table 7
  • Overall 30-day inhalant use for 8th, 10th and 12th grades has DECREASED for both 2001-2208 (-.2%) and 2005-2008 (-.5%) – table 8
  • Lifetime inhalant use from 2005-2008 DECREASED for 12th grade (6.6%-6.3%) but INCREASED for both 8th grade (13.6%-14.2%) and 10th grade (8.8%-9.7%) –table 9
  • Pat 30-day inhalant use from 2005-2008 decreased for 8th and 12th grade but stayed the same for 12th grade (2.2%) – table 10
  • For both 2005 and 2008 (table 11), Fairfax County lifetime inhalant use is lower than the national average for 8th, 10th, and 12th grade use.
  • However, for past 30-day inhalant use in that same timeframe, county use is higher than national averages for 8th grade (5.5% county, 4.2% national). 10th grade use matches national use at 2.2%.
  • Past 30 day use of inhalants for Fairfax County 8th grades in 2008 (4.4%) was higher than 2007 national 8th grade (3.9%).
  • Overall, female students are using inhalants at a higher rate than males. Lifetime=9.6% female use, 9.4% male use. Past 30-day=3.0% female use, 2.5% male use) –table 32
    Lifetime inhalant use is overall 9.6%. Highest is 8th grade (14.2%) and lowest is 12th grade (6.3%) –table 32
  • Past 30-day use is overall 2.8%. Highest is 8th grade (4.4%) and lowest is 12th grade (1.2%) –table 32
  • For lifetime inhalant use for 2001,2003,2005, and 2008: 10th grade inhalant use is higher in 2008 (9.7%) than in any other year. 12th grade use in 2008 (6.3%) is at its lowest level for all years. –table 33
  • For those same years, Hispanic/Latino report highest use rates (14.6%) and Asian/Pacific Islander report lowest use rates (8.2%) –table 33
  • For those same years, African American use rates are highest in 2008 (12%) and Whites report lowest use rates in 2008 (8.5%) –table 33
  • For 2001-2008, 30-day inhalant use is lowest in 2008 for: overall (2.6%), 8th grade (4.4%), 12th grade (1.2%) male use (2.2%) White (1.7%), Asian/Pacific Islander (2%) and other/multiple (3.5%) – table 34
  • Table 35 & 36 illustrate that the majority of students who have used inhalants (both lifetime and 30-day use) have only tried inhalants 1-2 times.

Page 61-62 of the report provides a synopsis.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Air Freshener Huffing on the Rise in NM

From East Mountain Telegraph in New Mexico:

Air Freshener is increasingly on the rise in Estancia. Police began hearing that kids were buying “several cans of air freshener from some local businesses.” An officer noted, "They were buying as many as six or seven cans at a time. It piqued our curiosity about what they were using it for.”

Initially believing it was being used to mask the odor of marijuana or cigarettes, they began an investigation. They found “six empty cans of aerosol spray on a table next to two rags” at the high school. “Then they found empty air freshener cans along with dirty rags on the inside wall of the dugout at the school. They also got a call that some 12 to 16 year olds were inhaling it in the locker room of the middle school.”

The Chief of Police states, "My biggest concern is getting it out so that parents are aware of it. Parents need to be constantly diligent and aware of what their kids are up to. Because who would've guessed it? It seems particularly popular now in Estancia for whatever reason. He added, “Most of the time parents are alert if they have alcohol missing in the house. But does anyone ever check the air freshener in the laundry room?"

2 Men Huff Again -Even After Second-Degree Burns

From Anderson Independent Mail in South Carolina:

Two homeless men (ages 19 and 35) were arrested after allegedly using inhalants. The police report notes “when police confronted the “dazed and confused” men Tuesday night, each was found with a straw between their mouths and a can of computer duster.”

One of the officers stated, “When I opened the driver's door, the driver took the can away from his mouth and began laughing.” Both men are being charged with “two counts of using aromatic hydrocarbons and one count of possessing an open container.”

“The men told the judge that they were living in a 2002 Subaru, which police said contained open bottles of liquor and multiple cans of compressed air.”

This is not the first time the two men have been involved with inhalant abuse. Three months ago, the men were hospitalized after suffering second-degree burns “in a flash fire caused by huffing computer cleaner in an unventilated car.” The men had been huffing from approximately 5 cans of dusters when one tried to light a cigarette.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

20 Year Old Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter

From the Pittsburgh-Tribune Review:

A 20 year old male was “sentenced to six to 12 months in jail for the Aug. 13, 2007 death” of an 18 year old woman.

The article notes that he “purchased a solvent to huff” and then passed it to a friend driving him, the victim and other passenger.

The driver then “passed out while he was driving after huffing the solvent and the ensuing crash killed the 18 year old woman.”

Soldier Admits Using Inhalants

From WPXI in Pittsburgh:

There’s an interesting inhalant reference within the article about post-traumatic stress disorder and soldiers.

A soldier who spent the last 17 years in the military notes “the summer of 2006, he returned from Iraq and that's when his troubles began.”

He states, "I started using inhalants, and anything I could.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Florida Inhalant Data: County and State

The Naples Daily News reports that the annual Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey results have been released. The Survey includes feedback from more than 91,000 middle and high school students.

Individual county reports can be found here:

The full state report charts can be found here.

Lifetime Reported Inhalant Use by Grade:
  • 6th: 11.5%

  • 7th: 12.9%

  • 8th: 15.1%
  • 9th: 11.4%

  • 10th: 10.6%

  • 11th: 9.4%

  • 12th: 8.6%

Past 30-Day Reported Inhalant Use by Grade:

  • 6th: 5.2%

  • 7th: 5.2%

  • 8th: 5.2%

  • 9th: 2.9%

  • 10th: 2.4%

  • 11th: 1.5%

  • 12th: 1.9%

Table 12 identifies “Percentages of surveyed Florida Youth who used inhalants in lifetime and past 30 days, by sex, race/ethnic group, age and grade -2000-2008:


Lifetime Use:
male/female:

  • In 2000, more males (12.7%) were using inhalants than females (11.3%)
  • In all other years (02, 04,06,08) more females have reported using inhalants than males.
  • Inhalant use declined for both males and females from 2006-2008
  • 2008 male inhalant use (10%)is the lowest of any year since 2000 (12.7%)
  • 2008 female inhalant use (12.9%) is lower than 2004 & 2006) but still higher than 2000 & 2002)

Race/ethnicity

  • Inhalant use has INCREASED from 2006 to 2008 for African Americans (7.2% -8.8%) and Hispanic/Latino (11.3%-11.4%) but DECREASED for White, non Hispanic (13.9%-12.0%)

Age:

  • 2008 Inhalant Use is HIGHEST among 13 (13.&%) and 14 (13.8%) year olds.
  • 2008 Inhalant Use is LOWEST among 18 year olds (8.4%)
  • 2008 numbers reflect lowest inhalant use since 2000 for 13,14,15,16, and 17 year olds.

Grade:

  • Total use has DECLINED from 2006 (12.2%) to 2008 (11.4%)
  • Overall both middle school & high school use has DECREASED from 2006-2008
  • 2008 rates have decreased from 2006-2008 in all grades except 8th. 8th grade use has INCREASED from 2006 (14.3%) to 2008 (15.1%)
  • Highest 2008 use is 8th (15.1%) and 7th (12.9%) grades
  • Lowest 2008 use is 12th grade (8.6%)

Past 30-Day use:

  • Both male and female use declined from 2006-2008.
  • 2008 30-day male inhalant use is at it's lowest level ever (2.8%)
  • From 2006-2008, inhalant use increased for African American (2.9-3.6%) but decreased for Hispanic/Latino (3.6-3.4%) and White, Non-Hispanic (4.2-3.1%)
  • 2008 30-day use is highest for 13 (5.2%) and 12 (4.9%) year olds
  • 2008 30-day use is lowest for 18 (1.6%) and 17 (1.8%) year olds.
  • 30 day-use declined in all ages from 2006-2008
  • 2008 30-day use is highest (exactly the same at 5.2%) for 6th, 7th and 8th grade
  • 2008 30-day use is lowest for 11th (1.5%) and 12th (1.9%) graders
  • 30-day inhalant use INCREASED from 2006-2008 for 6th and 12th grade
  • Overall, total, middle and high school 30-day use decreased from 2006-2008
  • For total and overall high school 2008 30-day use is at their lowest levels

Monday, November 17, 2008

Groups Call for More Anti-Huffing Action in New Zealand

From the Southland Times in New Zealand:

Two New Zealand Groups (the National Poison Centre and the Life Education Trust) are requesting more efforts to combat huffing.

The request comes “after a coroner found two men died after inhaling a toxic substance in separate incidents.”

The first individual “died after inhaling butane while details regarding the substance involved in the other death were heavily suppressed by the coroner, who said he did not want copycat incidents involving the particular substance.”

Friday, November 14, 2008

Man Found Covered in Silver Paint

From Newswatch 50 in Watertown, NY:

A 37 year old man was arrested “after he was found standing in the hallway of an apartment building covered in silver paint and highly intoxicated.”

Police had responded to a 911 hang-up call when they “heard someone yelling in a hallway of the apartment building.” They soon found the 37 year old standing in the hall, “allegedly holding plastic bag filled with silver paint, a can of silver paint in his hand, and his face covered in paint.” He continued yelling at the officers.

This is not his first case of inhalant abuse. Four year ago, when officers attempted to arrest him, he tried to evade them “by climbing onto the roof and jumping 30 feet to the ground.”

Woman Arrested for Third Time in Three Days

From Metro West Daily in Framingham, Massachusetts:

This past Wednesday, a 33 year old woman was arrested for the “third time in three days for huffing computer cleaning solution.”

She was arrested in the parking lot of a local restaurant. The officer “ordered her out of the car, and she refused, screaming at him.” The article also notes, “"She started a physical fight with the officers and she kicked one of them in the legs."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Huffing Related Crash - Victim Now in Wheelchair

From KTIV in Sioux City, Iowa and Rapid City Journal in South Dakota:

A 25 year old Rapid City resident “has pleaded guilty to huffing a chemical cleaner and then crashing into three vehicles - critically injuring one man.”

The man admitted that he blacked out behind the wheel on May 7th after huffing computer dusting spray. His “Nissan Xterra struck a southbound Jeep Cherokee, causing it to spin. The Xterra then hopped the curb and traveled along the sidewalk before crashing into the driver's side door of a Honda Accord.” His car then struck a parked motorcycle.

The driver of the Honda had his 4 year old son in the car, but the child was injured. The 29 year old driver, however, was critically injured.

He is “slowly regaining some movement and speech and uses a wheelchair.” The County Deputy State’s Attorney noted, “He still has a long way to go."

The driver of the Xterra “will be sentenced Dec. 3 for vehicular battery” and he “faces up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.”

16 year Old Charged with Huffing Gasoline

From Jamestown Post Journal in New York:

This past Tuesday, a 16 year old male was “charged with endangering the welfare of a child after two females (ages 13 and 14) ended up in the hospital from huffing gasoline.”

The 16 year old allegedly purchased the gasoline and then all three met at a local park to “huff, or inhale the fumes, of gasoline in order to get high.”

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Butane Abuse in Canada

From the Bugle-Observer in New Brunswick, Canada:

Town residents are concerned that butane is being used as an inhalant in their community.

Last weekend, a resident found the items on a nature trail and called the authorities. A town employee responded and found “13 used butane containers, a steel bowl and a couple of pipes.”

The article notes, “Butane gas is used as a fuel for cooking and camping, but, in recent years, it has become prominent among the youth, using it as an inhalant to get high or reach an euphoric state.”

The recreation director warned, “It is not great stuff to be dealing with. If it is being inhaled, it can do permanent damage to a young person or an adult. It is a gas, and you could be quickly overcome by it,"

He cautioned, “It is also dangerous to play with, The pipes could have been for shooting fire through them, (but) the flame could get bottled up in the pipe and pushed back on you, and you would be engulfed in flames in no time."

The mayor expressed concern noting the seriousness of the issue. “That is scary stuff.” She remarked.

Car Crashes into House After Driver Huffs Dusters

From C&G Newspapers in Detroit, Michigan:

On November 2nd, four teenage boys (ages 14-17) crashed into a house after huffing computer dusting spray while driving.

A passenger in the car “told police the car driver passed out at the wheel moments after huffing.” The car “quickly accelerated, hit a retaining wall, went airborne and struck the house, causing extensive damage to the home’s garage.”

“Several of the teens attempted to flee the scene but were apprehended by police.” The 16 year old driver and a 17 year old passenger were taken to the hospital. “All were released to their parents and, at press time, charges were pending.”

The County Sheriff noted “huffing can have deadly consequences, and the teens are lucky to be alive.” He continued, “I implore all parents to talk to their kids about this fad. It carries serious consequences, and by pure luck these kids are alive today. They could have all died and also killed innocent victims who were in the path of the runaway car.”

Huffing =Community Epidemic

From the Gillette News Record in Wyoming:

A 16-year old admitted he inhaled computer dusters and then attempted to drive. “After a couple of hits, he was high, his head swimming in inhalants. But as he dropped off his friend, he began to feel dizzy. He steered his truck onto the shoulder until the spinning subsided.” He started driving again and soon blacked out.

His “pickup raced through an intersection before plowing into the side of a house. Even though he was wearing a seat belt, his head smashed through the windshield.”

The article notes that the boy’s crash “illustrates a growing trend among local teenagers. Huffing arrests have soared in the past year as teens look for a cheaper, more easily accessible high.” It continues, “Twelve people have been arrested for huffing this year. In 2007, there were none, according to statistics from local law enforcement agencies.”

Frighteningly, “Many of the arrests involved driving. In the past six months, there have been seven huffing-related crashes in Campbell County.”

The director of a drug rehabilitation clinic reports that the office “has handled more huffing cases this year than at any other time in the past decade.” To combat this, the Sherriff’s Office is out in the community addressing the issue at an increased rate.

The teenage driver stated that he first tried huffing (gasoline) in the 7th grade because it was something that was easy to get. At his sentencing he was heavily fined and received 45 days in jail, 43 of which were suspended.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Increased Inhalant Abuse in New Mexico

From KOB.com in New Mexico:

The New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey results were released and the data for Bernalillo County show an uptick in the number of students using inhalants.

“The authors of the report do point out that Bernalillo County had a low response rate, meaning the data may not represent all high schoolers in the county, which could skew the results.”

The full state report can be accessed here:

For Bernalillo County, the report shows a steady increase of 30 day inhalant use from 2001-2007:

  • 2001 – 1.8%
  • 2003 - 6.0%
  • 2005 - 8.0%
  • 2007 - 8.4%

In addition, the county levels are higher than the state in 30 day inhalant use in grades 9-12.

  • New Mexico - 7.8%
  • Bernalillo- 8.4%

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Teens Caught Huffing Refrigerant from Air Condistioner

From the Dallas Morning News in Texas:

At 2:15 pm on Tuesday, teens in North Dallas were caught inhaling refrigerant from an air condition outside a local house.

The crime reports notes “a caller observed and photographed suspects as they experienced the effects of their actions.” The person reported the incident to police, the teens were checked by a local rescue, and then the “suspects were transported to the high school and released to school authorities.”

Seattle TV Station Investigates Nitrous Kits

From KIROtv.com in Seattle, Washington

The TV station investigative team noticed “cases of nitrous canisters” (typically used in homemade whipped cream makers) “popping up for sale in places that weren't exactly kitchen supply stores.”

Knowing that the product is often used as an inhalant, they sent 16 year olds into stores with a hidden camera. “We wanted to see if clerks would sell them what’s known as a nitrous kit. It consists of "whip-its" or whipped creamers, a cracker and balloons.” Their investigation revealed that several shops did indeed sell the kit to minors.

The article notes, “The cracker's only purpose is to help a huffer get the nitrous gas out of the container and into their lungs without getting frostbite” yet it “is not on Washington's drug paraphernalia list and for now, is legal to possess and sell.” The piece also noted that “nitrous oxide is not listed in Washington as a controlled substance." Police indicate they wanted to see this "loophole" closed.

Tackling Driving Under the Influence in Canada

From Canoe.ca in Ontario:

Last July federal legislation “cleared the way for police to begin targeting drug-impaired drivers.”

Four new “four drug-recognition experts, (DREs) will hit the streets in checkstops or being summoned by police who suspect drivers might be high.” The individuals will be “subjected to a 12-step evaluation process” and inhalants are included in the influence factors.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Woman Huffing Duster in Wal-Mart Parking Lot

From the Forrest City Times-Herald in Arkansas:

This past Monday, a 46 year old woman was arrested after she was found “huffing” a can of computer duster in Wal-Mart parking lot.

“The officer said he asked Sweet several questions, but she was slow to “react.” The officer said he asked for her identification three times before she complied. When the officer again asked her what she was doing, he reported, “she wouldn’t say anything except that she wanted her can back so she could finish getting high.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Car Crashes Into House After Driver Huffed Dusters

From DetNews.com in Detroit, MI:

Four teens were involved in a car accident after the 16 year old driver had huffed computer dusters. The car “hit a retaining wall and then went airborne, slamming into a house.”

The passengers included two 14 year olds and a 17 year old. They told deputies the driver
“lost consciousness after huffing a can of compressed gas.” Four cans of the computer duster were found in the car.
"I implore all parents to talk to the kids about this fad (huffing)," said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard. "It carries serious consequences and by pure luck these kids are alive today... they could have all died and also killed innocent victims who were in the path of the runaway car."

Monday, November 3, 2008

Information Sharing Session on Indigenous Youth/Residential Solvent Abuse Treatment in Canada

You are invited to join an information session offered by Debra Dell of the Youth Solvent Addiction Committee on Indigenous youth residential solvent abuse treatment in Canada.

Between November 26 and December 10, 2008, you will be able to view a 40-minute on-line presentation covering a brief history of solvent abuse among Indigenous youth in Canada and an innovative residential treatment response.Following the presentation, on December 11, 2008, from 2:00-4:00 pm CST, the presenter will be available along with a group of front-line solvent abuse treatment providers to answer any questions in an on-line internet format.

To participate, you will need to register at the NIDA International Virtual Collaboratory (NIVC) www.nivc.perpich.com and select the tab 'VSA group' upon your registration.

On December 11, 2008 you may submit questions by e-mailing vsa@nivc.perpich.com Please note that in order to be a part of the on-line discussion you must be registered on NIVC.

If you are not able to participate on December 11, 2008, but you are interested in viewing the complete dialogue, you can access it the following day on the NVIC website.

This project is funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada International Opportunities Development Grant, and is a collaborative initiative of the University of Saskatchewan, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the National Institute on Drug Abuse International Program, the National Native Addictions Partnership Foundation, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, the Youth Solvent Addiction Committee, and researchers in Canada, Mexico, the United States, and Australia.

The aim of this project is to identify an international collaborative research program specific to the treatment of and healing from solvent abuse for Indigenous youth. For more information on the research project or to potentially participate, please contact the principle Investigator, Dr. Colleen Anne Dell, at colleen.dell@usask.ca or 1-(306)-966-5912

5 Teens Huffing on School Bus

From the Kingman Daily Miner in Arizona:

A school bus driver caught 5 male students huffing on the bus and notified school administrators. The school then contacted both the parents and the Sheriff's Office.

"The Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District responded at 9 a.m. and treated the students. Three of the five were immediately taken with parental permission to the hospital as a precautionary measure. A fourth boy was transported by his parent, and eventually all five were treated at the hospital.”

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

14% of 4th and 5th graders in ND using inhalants

From the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota:

Results of the Youth Risk and Protective Factor Survey taken by students in Grand Forks Public Schools last spring have been released.

From the report, “A survey of Grand Forks students says 14 percent of fourth and fifth-graders have sniffed glue, paint and other inhalants."

Within the article, off to the left-hand side there is a running survey about the above statistic. At the time of this post, 63% of the readers were shocked by this statement.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Huffing Teen Punches Dad, Police Called

From the Pembroke Express in Massachusetts:

Last week, police responded to a call of a 19 year old who “punched his dad when the father confronted him about huffing an aerosol can of dust destroyer.”

His father “had a minor facial injury but did not require treatment.” The teen was arrested and charged with “assault and battery and inhaling a toxic substance.” He was released to his father’s custody.

Three Teens Injured After Car Explodes

From MyFoxColorado.Com and Daily Camera:

Two 16-year olds and an 18-year old females were injured last week in a huffing related accident. “Fumes from air freshener cans the girls were huffing ignited when one of the three lit a cigarette.”

The Daily Camera notes, "Dispatchers were flooded with 911 calls after the car was seen exploding into several pieces — the doors and windows blown off."

The teens suffered first- and second-degree burns and were subsequently treated and released from the hospital. “Their car sustained extensive damage from the blast and subsequent flash fire.” The police commander remarked, “It’s an amazing feat that these girls walked away alive.”

All three “may be charged with inhaling a toxic fumes and one girl who is 18 yrs old may be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”

Friday, October 24, 2008

Red Ribbon Awareness Week in Orange County

From the OC Register in California:

The article called-out an interesting note about 7th grade inhalant use in Orange County.

"Health experts say that besides binge drinking, inhalant abuse also continues to present a problem among local youth. Recent state data suggest seventh-graders in Orange County more likely to use inhalants than their peers statewide."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Texas Elementary School Celebrates Red Ribbon Week

From Ennis Daily News in Texas:

In recognition of drug-free month and Red Ribbon Week, “Ennis Independent School District Police Chief Ross Jones spoke to Bowie Elementary students Monday about the importance of staying drug free.”

Jones warned the students about inhalants and said, “We need them to love themselves. When they do that they know not to put anything in their body that would hurt them.”

For the week, each day had a creative theme to promote being drug-free.
  • On Monday, drug-free bracelets were distributed and students signed drug free pledge cards
  • On Tuesday, it was “Trash out Drugs” where students helped support the new recycling program at the school.
  • Wednesday was “plant the promise and stomp out drugs.” Students wore sunglasses and boots and planted wildflowers in designated areas.
  • On Thursday, students will ““sock it to drugs” by wearing silly socks and attending a motivational assembly.
  • Friday is “Hugs not Drugs” day, with students bringing stuffed animals to school.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Man Assaulted After Friend Huffs

From Leader-Telegram in Wisconsin:

Earlier this month, a 28 year-old man assaulted another individual after huffing. The 28 year old “went shopping at a retail store” while his friend waited in the car. He "returned with a spray can and took it out of the shopping bag and huffed twice."

He then started hitting his friend. Once Police arrived he was arrested and cited for battery.

Man Arrested After Hitting Woman

From the Stamford Advocate in Connecticut:

A 52 year old man was arrested after “allegedly sniffing carburetor cleaner and striking a woman.”

The woman told police that he “frequently sniffs inhalants; the two got into an argument after he began spitting on the floor. His yelling and swearing became worse when she would not clean up the floor, and he allegedly hit her in the jaw with his elbow.”

He was charged with third-degree assault.

Disturbing New Links to Early Substance Abuse

Disturbing new links to early substance abuse from a study that was just published in the October issue of Psychological Science. It tracked “1,037 children from the age of three until 32.”

  • "Children who try drugs or alcohol before age 15 run a greater risk of being substance-dependent as adults, contracting sexually transmitted diseases, dropping out of school or being convicted of a crime."
  • "Girls who dabble in drugs and alcohol early on are more likely to become pregnant before they are 21."
  • "Children who tried alcohol or drugs early on “were two to three times more likely than non-early-exposed adolescents to be substance dependent, to have herpes infection, to have had an early pregnancy, and to have failed to obtain educational qualifications."
  • "Youngsters who were exposed to drugs and alcohol before 15 also had “significantly more criminal convictions” than those who were not."
  • "Half the children who dabbled with drink and drugs early on had no prior history of behavior issues, the study found."

“Findings from this study are consistent with the message that early substance use leads to significant problems in adolescents’ future lives, said the study’s lead author, Candice Odgers of the University of California, Irvine."

“Even adolescents with no prior history of behavioral problems or family history of substance abuse problems were at risk for poor health outcomes if they used substances prior to age 15,” she said."

15 Year-Old Missing After Huffing Refrigerant

From KGBT in Texas:

A 15 year-old disappeared from school and then his mother “found out he allegedly got high on refrigerant at school and didn't get adequate medical care.”

The boy was found unconscious by an air conditioning unit. The school called the boy’s mother to tell her he had passed out after huffing refrigerant and asked her to come pick him up from school. When she arrived, the school had already released him. He is still reported missing.

Friday, October 17, 2008

21 Year-Old Man Dies After Huffing Refrigerant

From FoxTwinCities.com :

Earlier this week, a 21 Year-Old man was found dead “after apparently intentionally inhaling refrigerant to get high.”

“Police responded to a call of a man lying on a bench behind a building” and “detectives at the scene determined his “huffing” was a contributing factor in his death – which was ruled accidental by medical examiners.”

One detective noted that the victim “become unconscious and fell forward against a wall, blocking off his oxygen and causing death by asphyxiation.”

Inhalant Use Decreases in One Pennsylvania School District

From Centre Daily Times in Pennsylvania:

The Pennsylvania Youth Survey findings are complete and some school districts have released their findings. The survey “polls sixth, eighth, 10th and 12th graders on their behavior, attitude and knowledge concerning alcohol, tobacco, other drugs and violence.”

  • “Compared with eighth, 10th and 12th graders nationally, State College students reported lower rates of use in their lifetimes of inhalants (7.7 percent)"
  • "P-O students in the same grades reported rates lower than national rates for use of inhalants (11 percent).”

Mom Speaks Out About the Loss of Her Son

From WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan:

Beverly Helms talks about the loss of her son Michael Meek to inhalant abuse. Michael died with a “can of computer duster under his hand.”

She is now speaking out to help protect other families. "Just to say this is what happened my little boy," she said. "A 9- or 10-year-old looks at that and thinks, 'It's not going to hurt me,' and they become another statistic."

In honor of her son, an avid skateboard fan, a benefit concert will be held on Saturday at 4 pm at the Ionia Skate Park. The money raised will be used “to buy some new equipment at the park as a memorial” to her son.

For a personal account of that day from Michael’s mom, click here:

Please click here to view the video which accompanies this news story.

USK’s Study on Inhalant Abuse & Nairobi Children

An interesting blog post from Advocacynet.org:

“Representatives from leading NGOs, government departments, the media and members of USK Street Associations were filling up the room to help validate the findings from USK’s study on inhalant abuse amongst children and youth on the streets of Nairobi, a hot topic judging by the turnout.”

Click on the above link to read more.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Man Caught Huffing...Again

From the Post Bulletin in Rochester, Minnesota:

Earlier this week, a 23 year old man was caught “allegedly huffing out of a can of carburetor behind a Domino’s Pizza.”

He was found to be “somewhat disoriented with the cleaner in his pocket.”

On Monday he plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of toxic substances (use for intoxication prohibited). He has a history of inhalant abuse and is also set to report to court later this month for a separate incident that took place last month.

Inhalant Abuse and Boys

From the Prevent Child Abuse New York Blog:

"A project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has reviewed literature on the risks and assets that affect boys aged 10 to 18.”

Under the category of substance abuse:

  • In 2005, more than two out of five high school boys had used inhalants, such as glue, aerosols, nail polish remover, and other household substances
  • Among high school students, lifetime inhalant use decreased from 20% in 1995 to 12% in 2003 and then remained steady at 12% from 2003 to 2005
  • While older boys tend to smoke, drink, and use drugs more than younger boys do, eighth graders are more likely than older boys to use inhalants.

Inhalant Abuse Increases for 8th and 12th Graders in Arkansas

From the Helena Daily World:

On Wednesday, the results of the 2007 Arkansas Prevention Needs Assessment Student Survey were released. The study surveyed 88,040 sixth, eighth, 10th and 12th graders (from 208 of the 245 school districts) on their use of various substances.

Interestingly, the survey points out that “ drug use among Arkansas youth declined among all substances and grades surveyed, except methamphetamine among sixth graders and inhalants among eighth graders and high school seniors.”
  • Eighth graders who reported using inhalants within 30 days went from 6.2 percent in 2002 to 6.5 percent.
  • The rate among 12th graders rose from 2.2 percent to 2.3 percent.

Inhalant Abuse on the Rise in West Virginia

WVNS reports that inhalant abuse is “seeing a rise in users, both teens and adults.”

Sentence for Woman Found Huffing with 15 Year-Old:

From the Bismark Tribune in North Dakota:

The 26 year-old woman who was found huffing computer duster with a 15 year-old girl “has received a suspended sentence for child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”

The woman had been found in a park, huffing the duster in her car with the girl while her 1 year old and 3 year old were found alone. 24 cans of computer duster were found in the car.

She “must pay $575 in court fees. She is prohibited from having aerosol containers and anything else that can be huffed while on probation.”

Nitrous Tanks Stolen From Dentists' Offices

From iStockAnalyst.com, Salem, Oregon. (As first reported in The Record-Eagle, Traverse City, Michigan):

Earlier this month, two 100-pound tanks of nitrous oxide where stolen from a dentist’s office. Then earlier this week, another tank was reported missing from another dentist’s office in the county.

“The thief or thieves broke into both businesses through doors, and did significant damage to a door.”The police sergeant reported, "I think (they) were stolen to be used as a recreational-type inhalant.”

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Huffing Related High Speed Chase

From True Citizen in Waynesboro, Georgia:

Wednesday morning a 31 year-old man was jailed after leading police on a high speed chase. Police had responded to a report of someone huffing chemicals in a supermarket parking lot.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Huffing + Driving = Pain for the Whole Family

A mother shares her story of being thrust into taking care of her daughter because of someone else's irresponsible decision.

"My daughter, Jamie, came by the house a week or so before the accident all excited..."

"She came home January 9th, 2008 but not the way we all had thought. She came home to a hospital bed with a pick line for intravenous feeding of antibiotics, a stomach feeding tube, numerous medications and needing care 24/7.

On September 30, 2007 we received a call that Jamie had been in a serious accident and we needed to come as soon as possible. I will never forget that day.

We walked in and people were whispering—we were the parents of the girl that died. On the way down to the hospital I prayed “God please put a bubble of protection around Jamie and keep her safe, Under Grace in the most perfect way. Thank you. Amen.”

I knew they were wrong. Jamie did not die; she had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and was in surgery to save her life.

We made it through the first critical 72 hours, the next 3 ½ months of hospital and rehabilitation stays.

Then we were sent home with very minimal training to care for her and instructions to “come back and see me in 3 months” by her doctor.

We are making progress with Neuro-feedback, but she is still considered to be in a semi-coma state. Her eyes are open, she blinks them as response to what we are saying, but as yet cannot talk or walk. The progress has been slow, but with a lot of prayers, hope, and TLC one day she will talk and walk again.

You see, Jamie was a passenger in the back seat of a car with a driver who chose to huff computer cleaner while driving. She hit the back end of a utility trailer hauling large equipment going 80 mph, with a small Toyota Camry-- the car flipped and hit a tree. The driver, a so called friend, did not value her own life let alone the lives of the 5 passengers in the car. This was a senseless accident, the driver should never have chosen to huff while driving..."

"...Please do not huff anything to get high, instead get help to find out why you need to get high. Talk to someone. If you don’t care about yourself care about your family, your mother, your father, your brother or sister because it will change the whole family. The financial, emotional, and shear physical strain at times seem unbearable. I cannot go watch her brother play football, or watch his wrestling matches; I work and take care of Jamie. I no longer have a life I am her caregiver 24/7. I do this because I love her and am determined to help her get better.

Attached are pictures of her before the accident, after surgery and in her wheelchair. Ask yourself “Is this what I want for me?” “Do I want to put my family through this? Do I want my parents to have to care for me 24/7? Think about it!! Think about the friends you have. Would they do this to you? If so run-fast to get away they are not friends! STAY AWAY FROM HUFFING AND THOSE WHO HUFF!!!"

To read the full story, please visit: http://messageboard.inhalant.org/tool/post/inhalant/vpost?id=3000090



Inhalant Session in Vineland, NJ

From the DailyJournal.com in NJ:

Last Friday in Vineland, an inhalant abuse awareness session took place at the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home. The session was “hosted by The Southwest Council, a community-based drug prevention organization.”

Interestingly, “Joseph M. Williams, executive director of the Southwest Council, said that, in the past three years, his organization has discovered the majority of its clients used inhalants in the early days of their experimentation.”


16 Year-Old Crashes Car after Huffing

From Whio TV in Ohio:


Last Thursday, a 16 year-old male crashed his car and then admitted to police that he had been “huffing computer duster prior to the crash.”

The 15 year-old passenger is in serious condition. The “pickup flipped over multiple times” before ejecting him.

The police report notes that the “driver blacked out before the crash.” He was cited for failure to control a vehicle.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Police Chief Warns City Council About Inhalants

From the Memphis Democrat in Missouri:

Memphis Police Chief John Myers discussed inhalant abuse in an address to the Memphis City Council. He noted, “I plan to discuss the issue during the school’s Red Ribbon Week and other drug prevention presentations, but most importantly I feel we need to let parents know this can be an issue.”

16 Year-Old Caught Huffing Paint

From the Post-Bulletin in Austin, Minnesota:

Last Monday, a police officer found a 16 year-old boy “huffing spray paint fumes in a parked car with two female passengers ages 15 and 16 .”

The officer noticed a “gold cap to a spray paint can.” The passenger then revealed the can and the driver “admitted to inhaling about 1 1/2 cans of spray paint from spraying into a bag.” He reported that he “started inhaling paint fumes about two weeks ago.”

The article also noted that one month ago in the same town, police found an 18 year old “sniffing or huffing spray paint in a bag while walking.”

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Part 2 of 2: A father's story of losing a son to inhalants

In addition to Michel, Tyler's father also shares his heartbreaking perspective: "I want to introduce you to mine and Michel’s son Tyler Townsend.

"Tyler and his mother were at home after school on Feb 5. Tyler was playing with his dogs in the house. His mother asked Tyler to put the dogs in their pen. Tyler took the dogs out one at a time. Shortly after Tyler had taken the second dog out (approximately 5-8 minutes), his mother received a phone call from Tyler’s uncle. He had called to thank Tyler for a birthday present he had received. His mother went outside and found Tyler laying face first in the yard less than 15 feet from the back door.

There had been no sound, no cry for help, nothing to indicate a problem of any kind. Tyler’s mother frantically turned Tyler over and screamed for his uncle to hurry. His mother began CPR, less than two minutes passed and his uncle arrived and took over the CPR. Ten minutes later I arrived and immediately began helping with the CPR.

Tyler’s uncle and I performed CPR for what seemed an eternity. 25-30 minutes later the ambulance, four sheriff vehicles, and three EMT vehicles arrived. The EMT’s performed CPR and tried to resuscitate Tyler for another thirty minutes at our home. They then loaded him in the ambulance and we all left for the emergency room.

Less than an hour later Tyler was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Now for those of you who have never had to perform CPR on your son. CPR is a very personal experience. You are trying to deliver life into what seems a lifeless body. Tyler’s eyes were open and fixed. There was a milky white glaze covering them. His pupils and iris were almost not distinguishable. No pulse was evident his tongue was swollen and far back in his throat. The grass from the yard was in his throat and mouth and we were constantly clearing it. Some type of secretion kept coming up and His uncle was constantly having to clear this as well.

Chest compressions require a fair amount of force. I felt on more than one occasion what seemed like Tyler’s ribs cracking or breaking under my hands. We are taught not to stop until medical help arrives. Well how would you like to feel your son’s ribs break under your hands and you still have to keep going.

I thank God every day I had Tyler’s uncle with me helping me but I also wish he didn’t have to go through this. When the ambulance arrives you will fight a battle within yourself. You will not want to stop because every part of your being is fighting and praying for your son to revive.

Now it gets worse. You move out of the way and you watch strangers performing the same act on your son and you see them doing something different and you wonder if you were doing it wrong.

You feel helpless just standing there. They shock your son, you see him move, your heart will jump in your throat with a brief moment of hope. You will watch the monitor and see some activity not knowing what it means, when they pause to shock him again you see the lines on the monitor flatten out. They shock him again and you get to repeat the process all over.

Eventually you notice they are not working as diligently as they started. Whether through exhaustion or despair their movements begin to slow. Your only hope is that some sort of miracle will happen and you begin to pray even more.

Then you get to watch them load your son in an ambulance and race to the hospital. I was never more than a hundred feet behind traveling at speeds close to 90 miles and hour. My eyes never left the activity I could see in the back glass.

You spend all your energy trying to comfort your son’s mother but she can see the same thing you can. The EMTs in the ambulance seem to stop performing CPR and once again you get your hopes up. Then you notice they are just changing positions because the one doing the compressions has tired out.

You get to arrive at the hospital park your truck and run inside just in time to stop at a desk and give information. You then get to hear a loud cry in emergency waiting room, run over there and find out the cry was from the rest of the family who beat you to the hospital and were just told your son was dead.

After that you don’t remember anything for awhile except what your son looked like laying there under you hands and wondering what you forgot or didn’t do.

We all sat at the Hospital over thirty friends and family in total disbelief. Fingers were pointed, statements were made feelings were hurt and many tears were shed. Grown men cried like babies, and still no one knew what had happened to this young man who brought joy to so many of our lives.

Well one long sleepless night followed. “Why ?” was the predominant question on everyone’s mind. Friends and family gathered around our home on Feb 6, seeking comfort, and to comfort. The phone never quit ringing from people we never heard of and people we haven’t heard from in a while. All our lives were put on hold for what seemed an eternity, and still no one knew why.

Please if you KNOW of this already do not hide it.

Several parents we have spoken to in the past week have told us of their kids experimenting with Huffing. These children knew and played with our son. Their parents kept silent “ashamed” their children were doing such a thing. I do not blame anyone for what has happened to my son but prevention is always better than the cure.

If you think this won’t happen to you or can not happen to you, please re-read this letter and prepare yourself for what just may be inevitable!

We all believe our children will out live us and work our whole lives to provide a future for them. My son’s future is with God now and though I rejoice in this I miss him terribly.

Part 1 of 2: A mother's story of losing a son to inhalants

Michel Townsend lost her son, Tyler Aubrey Townsend, to inhalants when he was fourteen years old.


In memory of him she created a Memorial site and shares her story.

To read Michel's story, please visit:


Friday, October 3, 2008

Man Arrested after Huffing Gasoline in Public

From the Rock Hill Herald in South Carolina:

A 31 year old man was arrested “after police said he was huffing gasoline as he walked down the street.”

Just after 1 pm last Wednesday he was found and charged with “glue sniffing, aromatic hydrocarbons.” The man “told police that he did not realize that sniffing gasoline was illegal.”

A police commander stated his huffing charge is a rarity, one that has not been seen by the county's drug enforcement unit in a decade.”

19 Year-Old Crashes Car After Huffing

From WTVW in Indiana:

Last Wednesday, a 19 year old woman crashed her car into a telephone pole after huffing computer dusting spray.

She was found passed out in the driver’s seat with a “a can of computer cleaner on her lap and a small amount of marijuana.” She was arrested and charged with a DUI.

6-8 Kids in a Coma or Dead from Inhalant Abuse Each Year in KY

From the Louisville Courier-Journal in Kentucky:

The article discusses the importance of physicians and annual check-ups for adolescents. It states that a doctor can often be “more persuasive” in reaching children with a preventative message.

One pediatrician notes, “some adolescents are getting high off common substances, such as glue, paint and gasoline, that are used as inhalants.” “We get six to eight kids in (a) coma or dead every year just from inhalant use, and that should never happen."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

New Spot Checks on Reserve

From the Daily Miner and News in Ontario, Canada:

In an increased effort to combat substance abuse on the reserve, the band council has established spot checks.

Detachment Commander Hardy noted that they “have substance abuse problems and one of the ones that were identified was lacquer inhalant, solvent, and it’s been ongoing for years.”

The article states, “After identifying the problem, band council consulted with Indian Affairs and private lawyers to set up the check on vehicles entering the community, similar to northern reserves Cat Lake and Big Trout Lake. “

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Two Fall 9 Stories After Huffing in Singapore

From the Strait Times in Singapore:

The bodies of a 15 year-old girl and a 22-year old man were found “lying side by side, both clad in T-shirts and shorts” at the bottom of an apartment building.

Two pairs of slippers, a stool, and a “can of industrial glue in a plastic bag” were found nine stories above where the bodies were discovered. The girl was a local student and the man was “her older brother's friend” whom she considered “as her godfather.”

Her school principal said the “school was saddened by the death of a 'friendly, sociable and outgoing' student.”

The article notes two interesting points about inhalant abuse in that region.

1. “Dying from glue sniffing is rare, according to the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB). However, there have been a few cases in the Coroner's Court over the past two years where people who had fallen from height had apparently sniffed glue before they died.”

2. “Cases of inhalant abuse among youth here are on the rise. The CNB said 352 glue-sniffers were caught in the first half of this year, and 644 nabbed last year. In 2006, it was 403.”

Canadian Inhalant Treatment Centre Expands Services

From Sturgeon Lake Reserve in Canada:

The White Buffalo Youth Inhalant Treatment Centre is expanding its addiction services. The Centre was established in 1996 and is located in northern Saskatchewan.

It "is a nationally recognized residential facility that treats youth who have addictions to solvents. Located on Sturgeon Lake First Nation, the centre is open to youth 12 to 17"

Monday, September 29, 2008

Four Females Charged with Huffing

From the Pocono Record in Pennsylvania:

A 19 year old woman and three minors (females aged 14, 14, and 16) are now “facing charges of drug possession and illegal ingestion of inhalants.”

A police officer “patrolling the park came upon a parked vehicle with the four inside, police said. The vehicle’s occupants appeared “unusually nervous” and gave conflicting reasons for being in the park.”

When he searched the car, he found a can of computer duster and the occupants of the car noted they “intended to huff” the product.

Woman Found Dead in Her Car- Duster in Hand

From Asheville Citizen in North Carolina:

A 47 year old woman was found in her truck and police say that their “belief is that she overdosed on huffing canned air that she purchased at Wal-Mart the day before.”

A half empty can of computer duster was “found in the victim’s hand, while seven empty cans were discovered in the truck.”

The police sergeant also noted that “last year he caught an 18-year-old woman huffing in her car. He charged her with possession of a toxic substance and inhaling a toxic substance.”

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Jersey program addresses inhalants

From the Daily Journal in Vineland, NJ:

The Southwest Council, an alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse prevention and education agency with offices in Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties, will host a conference on inhalants on Oct. 10. Isabel Burke, Director of the Health Network, will be the key speaker.

Why is New Jersey putting on such a program?

In 2005, New Jersey's "Youth Risk Behavior Survey" reported that 10.1% of New Jersey students said they used inhalants to get high!

"Inhalants are the 4th most-abused substance after alcohol, tobacco and marijuana," said Joe Williams, executive director for The Southwest Council. He goes on to say that "[m]ost parents don't know that inhalants, because they are cheap, legal and accessible products, are as popular among middle school students as marijuana."

To learn more about this program click here

Mom Changes Building Code To Prevent Inhalant Abuse

From WBBH in Fort Myers, Florida
Mona Casey lost her 15 year old son Charles to inhalant abuse two years ago.
Since his death, his mother has been “working to make sure the same doesn't happen” to other children.

“An AC unit could be your child's ticket to getting high. The valve comes right off and inside, you can find the cooling agent, refrigerant, which some people have also used as an inhalant.” Mrs. Casey notes, "There is very easy access to something that was very dangerous that should have been out of reach to children a long time ago."

Mrs. Casey began working to change this and this week, the “International Code Council, which governs all the states' building codes, approved Casey's request to tighten the rules on AC units.”

“Starting in 2010 in Florida, all new AC units will have to come with a special valve that can only be taken off with a special tool. The move will make it nearly impossible for kids to get into an air conditioning unit.”

The article quotes the county building manager as saying, “"It's a major accomplishment, major," "I'm shocked, very surprised, and very happy she was able to do it," and that he has “never heard of an average citizen able to change the nation's building code.”

Mona Casey also remarks, "These are children that don't even understand what this stuff does to your body and I just want to give them a chance.”

Woman Arrested for Huffing Steals Police Car

From Reiten Television KXMB in Bismark, ND

This past Thursday, a 23 year old woman was arrested for huffing.

The Sheriffs Deputy found her on a walking path that goes under a highway. “He handcuffed her and put her in the squad car then went to get the evidence.”

“As he was processing the evidence, he heard his engine rev up and his car drive away."

He guesses that she “slid out of the handcuffs and went through the gate, window into the front seat inside the vehicle."The car was soon found and the woman was arrested at a local bar.

The woman “faces DUI and Theft of a Vehicle charges.”

Thursday, September 25, 2008

18 Year-old Found Unconscious After Huffing Gasoline

From the Kitsap Sun in Washington:

An 18 year old man “fell unconscious at a football game Friday night.”

A school custodian found him “lying face down in a hallway of the high school.” Fire and Rescue responded along with two police officers who were working security at the game.

The police report notes, “While they were giving aid, the man stirred about and began struggling with medics, trying to run away. He said he "thought there were people out to kill him." It also notes that when he “regained consciousness, he became combative and told aid crew members he thought he was at a Seattle Seahawks' game."

He “appeared to be hallucinating, and his pupils were dilated. But he had no drug paraphernalia or narcotics on him.” He was brought to the hospital where re[portedly en route he mentioned he had been “huffing gasoline.”


Friday, September 19, 2008

21 Year-Old Pleads Not Guilty to Huffing Related Crash

From In-Forum in North Dakota:

On Thursday, the man pleaded not guilty "to a felony reckless endangerment charge in connection with an August accident downtown, where he crashed his pickup into a light pole, a car and a business."

Court documents note that he "told police he was huffing dust remover before the accident."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Man Hangs Himself as Result of Addiction to Inhalants

From the Phuket Gazette in Thailand:

Last Saturday in Thailand, 26 year old man hung himself in prison. Police attributed his apparent suicide to his “unstable mental condition, the result of a long-term addiction to inhalants.”

The man was “found hanging by a meter-long garment that he usually wore wrapped around his midsection, under his clothing. The garment was a gift from his mother when he served his compulsory military duty years ago, and was not visible to officers when he was placed in the cell the day before.”

The prison added he had “recently escaped from a drug rehabilitation center” but that he was in imprisoned for stealing his neighbor’s wallet.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Addiction and Inhalants

From the Sunshine Coast's Health Center Blog:

Daniel Jordan raises some interesting questions in his summary of an addictions presentation by
Dr. Carlton Erickson, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology, and director of the Addiction Science & Research Center in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Texas at Austin.

What are your perspectives or thoughts on his following two points?

1. Inhalants and Addiction:
"Dr. Erickson calls the likelihood that a person will become dependent on a drug its “dependence liability.” Some drugs have a dependence liability while others do not.

The criteria for dependence liability is how it acts on the mesolimbic dopamine system. Caffeine, antidepressants, and newer anti-seizure medications do not have dependence liability. However, some drugs do and the following chart shows that a certain percentage of people (depending on the drug) will become dependent *:

Drug / Percentage of People Who Become Dependent
Nicotine - 32%, Heroin - 23%, Cocaine - 17%, Alcohol - 15%, Stimulants - 11%, Cannabis - 9%, Sedatives - 9%, Psychedelics - 5%, Inhalants - 4%.

Source: Anthony, J.C., Warner, L.A., & Kessler, R.C., (1994). Comparative epidemiology of dependence on tobacco, alcohol, controlled substances, and inhalants: Basic findings from the national comorbidity survey. Experimental & Clinical Psychopharmacology, 2, 244-268."

2. Use the term "Abuse" in Inhalant Abuse:
"I was particularly fascinated by Dr. Erickson’s claim that many of the words, or terminology, that the general public and the treatment field use to describe drinking and drugging are leading to continued prejudice and discrimination in North American culture. This stigmatizing, Dr. Erickson argues, is a big part of why governments are not providing adequate funding for addiction research, prevention, and education

"Abuse” is a Perjorative Term and Should be Retired. In his book, The Science of Addiction, Dr. Erickson calls the term “abuse” the number 1 myth that prevails in the treatment field or in the minds of the public. The word abuse * is an inappropriate term for several reasons, such as:
  • the term being used, for centuries, as a morally sinful act such as child abuse, sexual abuse, spousal abuse
  • the implication that alcohol, an object, is being abused by someone just like a child is being abused by someone (a preferred term in Europe is misuse)
  • the use of the term substance abuse does not distinguish between voluntary use (”misuse”) and uncontrolled use (”dependence”) similar to the generalized use of the term “addiction”
"By continuing to refer to people as drug, alcohol, or substance abusers, according to Bill White *, “misstates the nature of their condition and calls for their social rejection, sequestration, and punishment.”

Gasoline Huffing Man Tased by Police

From Deseret News in Salt Lake City, Utah:

Last Friday, Salt Lake City police tased a 25 year old man after he interfered with his arrest.

The officer “unexpectedly came across a man huffing gasoline fumes in an area just north of the pond, and ordered him to stop what he was doing. The man attempted to flee, but was apprehended near the pond, where he failed to cooperate, at which point the officer deployed his taser.”

The suspect was sent to jail and was “under investigation for abusing inhalants and interfering with an arrest.”

Florida Woman Arrested Again for Huffing

From the From NaplesNews.Com:

“Four days after being charged with huffing dust remover in public”, a 35 year old woman was found “slumped over in the driver seat of a car with an aerosol can in her lap.”

She was arrested and once again charged with “inhaling and ingesting harmful chemicals.” Previously, she had been found “huffing dust remover in public, rolling around on the ground and making weird noises.”

The police report notes that the trooper “saw a vehicle stopped in the turn lane” with the driver “slumped over in the driver seat” with a can of computer duster in her lap and vomit on her shirt.

The trooper banged on the window, woke her up, and she “did not look at the trooper, but instead started fixing her hair.” She said she was OK, apologized “while flicking vomit off of the seat and her clothing.”

“Troopers found two cans of dust remover and a can of carpet cleaner inside her vehicle.”

Friday, September 12, 2008

Plea Submitted in South Carolina Crash

From the Spartanburg Herald Journal:

Regarding a car crash last September, the 20 year old female driver this past Thursday “submitted an Alford plea regarding two counts of felony driving under the influence and received a sentence of up to six years under the Youthful Offender Act.” “An Alford Plea is one in which the accused does not admit guilt but concedes that enough evidence exists to make a conviction likely.”

The Department of Corrections will now determine the length of her sentence.

She did not have a driver’s license at the time of the crash “but succumbed to peer pressure by driving the car.” The car crashed into the back of a truck just after at least some of the car’s six occupants had been huffing computer duster.

The driver’s mother has also been charged with “accessory to a felony after the fact” as she has been accused of removing the cans of duster “in an attempt to hide evidence.”

Two of the passengers sustained severe injuries.

One woman “suffered severe head trauma, from which she has not recovered, and is wheelchair-bound. In her early 20s, it is unlikely she will ever walk and unknown whether she will communicate fully again.”

The other female passenger "shattered every bone in her face below her temples and has had many difficulties from the loss of her left eye and recovering from surgeries.”

The prosecutor said that huffing computer dusters, had been the cause and "We just can't tolerate that. As a parent, it scares me to death. It's a horrible situation that's going to affect them the rest of their lives."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Huffing Causes Head-on Collision

From the Tahlequah Dailypress in Oklahoma:

On Tuesday, a 22 year old man was arrested “after he allegedly fled from a head-on hit-and-run crash.”

The report notes he had been using computer dusters. He was charged with driving under the influence.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Oregon Mayor Seriously Injured

From the Register-Guard in Oregon:

Orville Nelson, the mayor of Lakeside Oregon, was seriously injured after being hit by a pickup truck.

The police log notes that the 27 year old driver was “headed northbound on 101 when a witness saw him cross into the southbound lane before steering the vehicle back across the northbound lane and into the parking lot.”

In the parking lot, the mayor “had just gotten his daily cup of coffee and was getting into his own pickup truck. The driver kept going before losing a wheel and getting stuck.”

A witness states, “He didn’t even have a chance to get in his truck when the Dodge ran off the road and got him. When I heard the big crash, I ran over there and saw he was hit and I ran in and called 911.” The witness then “went back outside with some wet rags and held Nelson’s head to keep him from moving, prodding him to stay awake until the ambulance got there.”

The mayor was taken to the hospital and listed in critical condition. Earlier this week his condition was “upgraded to serious.”

The driver was arrested on “suspicion of assault, possession of heroin, driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving, reckless endangering, criminal mischief and unlawful possession of inhalants, after he showed signs of impairment and failed field sobriety tests.” “Several containers of inhalants” were found in the vehicle.

Man Found Huffing Spray Paint in MN

From the Austin Post-Bulletin in Minnesota:

Last Sunday an 18 year old man was found huffing spray paint from a bag. Police noted that he had "spray paint on his fingers and chin as well as a bag that had a strong odor of paint."

The man also had a spray paint can, which officers took from him. He was cited for "having a toxic substance" and was released.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Man Huffing on Sidewalk Outside K-Mart

From the Kitsap Sun in Washington:

Last Thursday evening, a 29 year old man was arrested for allegedly “getting high” on computer dusters outside a K-Mart.

Store employees “called police at about 6 p.m. because they thought a man who was passed out on the sidewalk in front of the store was drunk. When an officer arrived, the man was still there on his side.”

While talking to the employees, the officer “heard what sounded like a can spraying. One of the employees said, "He's doing it again." The man was still on the ground and the officer saw him “discharging something from a metal can into his mouth.”

“One of the employees said he'd watched him inhale from the can at least two other times.”

The man was “incoherent and disoriented” and was taken to the hospital. He was soon released and booked on “suspicion of inhalation for the purpose of intoxication with bail set at $2,500.”

Teens Crash Car into Store after Huffing

From the Picayune Item in Mississippi:

Last Wednesday evening, “a car carrying four juveniles crashed into the K & T Texaco on U.S. 11, destroying the ice cooler out front and cracking the brick wall behind it.”

The 16 year old driver was charged with DUI after at least three cans of computer duster were found in the car. “All four juveniles in the car were treated for mild to moderate injuries.”

The car had been traveling at least 60 miles per hour when it hit the store. “Damage to the store was roughly estimated to be about $14,000, just for the wall and the demolished ice machine.”

“The car not only destroyed the ice cooler but it also hit another car, which dominoed into two other cars.”

The store employees noted, “Fortunately the ice machine that was struck by the car had run out of ice earlier that day so no one was at the machine at the time of the accident” and “No one — luckily — was sitting at the booths.”

Friday, September 5, 2008

Patient in Treatment Center Dies From Huffing

From Newscow.com in Cowley County, Kansas:

A 45 year old man died after huffing computer duster at a substance abuse treatment facility last month. He was found “unresponsive in his room at the center when emergency personnel arrived on Aug. 22.”

The man smuggled the item into the facility. He had “been at the treatment center for three days, video evidence confirmed that he concealed the can of dust remover from staff.”

The spokesperson for the Center notes, “Staff checked his stuff but he had the can hidden in the front of his pants. Everyone felt horrible about it.”

19 year old crashes car after huffing

From the Gillette News Record in Gillette, Wyoming:

On September 2nd, a 19 year old man "lost control of his pickup at about 4:30 pm and plowed into a home, causing at least $8,000 in damage."

Police allegedly found a can of computer duster in the vehicle and the driver was "ticketed for driving while impaired and unlawful use of a toxic substance."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

20 year old taken to hospital after Huffing

From the Daily Ledger in Canton, IL:

A 20 year old woman was taken to the hospital after "allegedly “huffing” the contents of a can of compressed gas." She was "issued a notice to appear for unlawful use of intoxicating compounds."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Women Crashes Car for the 2nd Time After Huffing

From the Cape Cod Times:

A 31 year old woman has crashed her car for the second time after admittedly “huffing”, or using inhalants.

Yesterday morning she “crossed a raised median” and then “her car sideswiped another in the opposite lane then hit another head-on.” The accident injured three including a woman who is five-months pregnant.

Police “found a can of substance used to clean heating and air conditioning ducts inside her car.” “Later, when interviewed by police, she said she inhaled the substance to get high before the accident after buying it in the nearby Staples store.”

Last month, on August 14, She was “involved in a similar accident” at the same location. The police report from this accident notes that she was found passed out in her car with a computer duster in her hand. After this accident, her driver’s license was revoked “due to the threat Foley posed to the public.”

“Police said that immediately after the August accident she told them that she learned how to abuse inhalants by watching the A&E television show “Intervention.”