Thursday, March 27, 2008

Virginia SAFE Presentation

The Midlothian Exchange highlighted the story of Sgt. Jeff Williams in its article "Parents' First Defense Against Inhalants". Sgt. Williams spoke on March 12th at CJW Medical Center to parents, educators, and officials at a presentation from SAFE (Substance Abuse Free Environment). Says Sgt. Williams,
“Parents have to step in and say, ‘no’ … The movies have made it fun. They didn’t tell them they could die,” Williams said after showing a number of posted Web site videos of kids taking repeated “hits” from household products. “It metabolizes within two minutes. After two minutes, you can’t test and find it in the system.”

However, one can find a number of the abused items in the kitchen, the garage and sprinkled in everyone’s household for every day use. There are over 1,400 household products that contain a range of gases such as propane and refrigerant that 9, 10, and 11-year-olds have been known to use to get high. Williams admits that locking up all the items will not alleviate inhalant abuse. “We’re stuck with it and have to educate and teach our children why not to do it,” Williams said. “It’s not compressed air.”

“These chemicals are poisonous when introduced to the human body,” he said. Williams added that parents are the first line of defense for their children when it comes to looking for signs of abuse. “When they have multiple household products without a reason … You know something is up, because they’re not dusting,” he said.

Adolescents will also overuse perfume, cologne, and breath mints to mask the odor of solvent-based inhalants, he added. However, the biggest challenge for parents is when they catch children using household products. “You need to avoid exciting or stressing the person out,” Williams said.

The article also provided a link for parents to take online training about inhalants.

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