Friday, February 29, 2008
The Prevention Coalition is holding a town hall meeting on March 11th featuring Sgt. Jeff Williams, as well as an Inhalant Institute on March 12th to educate local residents about inhalant abuse. They will also be releasing a new inhalant curriculum to be used in all elementary, middle, and high schools in Virginia.
Photo courtesy of the News Leader.
This forum will be held March 6th from 6:30 - 7:30. We applaud Woodmore and their efforts to teach children about inhalant abuse at an early age.
At the end of the year, Wendt asks the students in 4th through 6th grades to fill out an evaluation measuring what they learned through the TAG programs. "It's amazing, some of the comments they come up with," she said. Student responses have been very positive. Some have written, "I hope I can be in TAG when I get older," and "I wish you could come every day."
The TAG program is taking their message a step farther and doing something new this year. Next month, TAG members will present "Take It Back," a youth-led forum presented to the community on the responsibility of the town to protect its youth from the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
He is being charged with:
- driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- unlawfully using an aromatic hydrocarbon as an intoxicant
- unlawfully possessing an aromatic hydrocarbon
According to the officers,
Jones huffed an aerosol computer cleaner for several hours before the car he was driving struck Starnes in a crosswalk, then hit a parked truck and a tree. The huffing led Jones to lose consciousness, which he didn’t regain until the air bag deployed.
"It’s just a shame to see somebody that young doing something like that, going to jail, and it could have possibly killed somebody over stupidity,” Starnes said.
The woman injured had bruises covering her right side. She is a massage therapist and is unsure when she'll be able to work again.
It's interesting to note how many young people are using dusters rather than other products while driving.
The driver was arrested for DUI, driving without a license, and hit and run. A passenger was arrested for possession of an inhalant with intent to inhale.
As your kids begin driving, it's a good time to bring up inhalants again and mention how dangerous driving while under the influence can be. Many parents tell their children not to drink and drive, but few explain the risks of huffing and driving.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Hollie Higgins of the Dallas Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse commented on the YouTube video being posted online. "Our worry there is, it's going to continue the prevalence of the use," she said, "because it's making it seem normal. [...]
The YouTube videos show teens inhaling the product and commenting on the resulting high.
"One more time, one more time, more, more."
"I can't feel my face."
"Oh yeah, another high, baby."
"It's great, oh my God."
The users might not be saying such things if they knew that dusting could kill them instantly."
It's important for parents to recognize that computer dusters are one of the most abused inhalants and to note any suspicious behavior from their child - cans of dusters in the trash, several canisters on their desk or around their room, especially by the bed, as well as receipts for dusters.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
"The ad reinforced the hypothetical question I often pose when discussing drug abuse in our country: If we could keep all of the illegal drugs produced in foreign countries from crossing our borders and landing on our streets, will our young people stop getting high? The answer is no!They would turn to prescription drugs, over the counter cold and cough medications as well as household products that can be used as inhalants. Unfortunately, this is precisely what is happening across our country."
Parents should keep in mind the fact that children are inclined to try inhalants first before other drugs. There are several reasons for this:
- Younger children don't have the money for other drugs
- They may not know anyone who sells drugs
- Inhalants are always accessible
- They've seen other classmates huff at school
- There's no 'contraband' - who thinks twice about markers in a child's room, or dust remover by their computer?
- Inhalants don't require any special equipment
- The 'high' hits almost immediately
- Huffing may be seen as less dangerous than other ways to get high
- Inhalants are not illegal to possess, so there's no risk in carrying them around
Even if you believe that your child is too young to even consider inhalant use, here are some tips for talking to your children from 6 years old and up.
Friday, February 22, 2008
No one was killed; the passengers in the van had various injuries including a broken collarbone, bruises, and cuts to the face. All four passengers were under 18. The charges include serious bodily injury, criminal recklessness, reckless driving, and glue sniffing, which is a blanket charge to include all inhalant abuse.
She was seen falling to the floor after employees heard a hissing sound. After paramedics and police were called, the can of dust cleaner was found nearby. She refused treatment and told police that she could not be jailed because she was on probation and wanted to go home. Wal-Mart is pressing charges for the theft of the dust cleaner, which cost $4.97. The woman repeatedly tried to bang her head against the wall until police held her on the floor with her head on a pillow.
The trespassing charge was included because she had been warned previously for huffing in their bathrooms on other occasions.
- doing cocaine (2)
- getting a concussion (4), and
- going through chemotherapy (21)
Other inhalants were also mentioned, including:
- cleaning solvents (35)
- paint remover (40), and
- nitrous oxide (48)
Inhalant abuse not only affects the brain but can also lead to other serious medical issues, such as liver and kidney damage, hearing loss, bone marrow damage, and heart problems. Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome can occur the first time anyone tries inhalants, and occurs when the heart beats rapidly and erratically and eventually stops.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Making an IMPACT on Inhalant Abuse
My first experience with inhalant abuse happened when I was a student in Mrs. Stuart’s 7th grade Art Class. Flaco, a skinny kid already on a dubious path, ducked under the work table we shared to pick up a pencil he had intentionally dropped. Instead of picking up the pencil right away, he reached in the pocket of his black cholo jacket and proceeded to take out a pair of stuffed socks which he sprayed with an aerosol can, and which he then pushed onto his beaked nose and inhaled deeply as if it were his last breath! After a minute or so, he came back up with the pencil in his hand and had a very bleary gaze.
At that time, in the early 1980’s, the slang term for inhaling to get high was “sniffing,” now it’s “huffing” or “bagging” or “chroming.” In my 15+ years of working for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), this particular inhaling problem appears to rise and fall, a pattern that has been linked to young persons’ perception of the risks of inhalants…and this pattern appears to be on the rise again. Only this time, by all indications, the problem is affecting youngsters not only from the inner city but also from all over the country, from all socioeconomic backgrounds, and with parents with high and low levels of education.
As an educator, and adviser for LAUSD’s IMPACT Program, it is my responsibility to educate school staff, as well as parents on the dangers of inhalant abuse. As a large population of our students are Spanish speakers, the Alliance for Consumer Education’s Prevencion contra el Abuso de Inhalantes (Inhalant Abuse Prevention) will become an indispensable resource and tool in creating awareness among the parents of our youths.
This presentation kit comes complete with a video introduction “to set the scene”, a Power Point presentation, a Facilitator’s Guide, a guide on frequently asked questions, pamphlets on what parents need to know, and a glossy, eye-catching poster.
IMPACT is the name of LAUSD’s prevention and early intervention curriculum-based, student assistance program for secondary schools. The program is designed to provide students with the skills and support required for them to make positive life choices. The goal of IMPACT is to improve student achievement. IMPACT is not an acronym. It is so named because it makes a positive impact on students’ lives. IMPACT provides a system for the identification, referral, and support of students who are exhibiting behavior of concern related to possible substance abuse and/or violence. Currently, there are 69 middle and senior high schools with an IMPACT Program. Each school with a Program has an IMPACT Coordinator and a Core Team of teachers and other staff members who are responsible for implementing and maintaining the components of the Program.
Due to frequent requests from our Coordinators for additional resources on inhalant abuse, I have recommended that Coordinators contact and request the Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit from The Alliance for Consumer Education. Part of their responsibilities as Coordinators of the program is to conduct staff developments at their given schools and to provide parent awareness component, such as presentations on alcohol and other drug abuse among teenagers.
In the following weeks I will be conducting presentations using both the English and Spanish language Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit for IMPACT Coordinators, school counselors, teachers, and other school personnel. I will also be presenting this all too
important information to parents in the hopes of creating awareness on the dangers of inhalant abuse. Inhalant abuse is an issue that needs greater attention not only in our schools, but in our communities as well.
We're very pleased that the launch of our Spanish kit is turning out to be such a success. We look forward to distributing more in the future.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Tomorrow is the sixth anniversary of our son Justin's death. He was 16. He died from inhaling air freshener, an act of inhalant abuse. His senseless death rocked the worlds of all who knew him. Justin was an honors student who loved life and embraced it with gusto. Although he had been physically challenged since birth, he never once asked the question, "Why me?" He was a source of inspiration for many.
Over the years, we had discussed many things with our five children: drugs, alcohol, sexual responsibility. Regrettably, at one time I allowed my children to inhale helium from balloons. I laughed as they talked in that squeaky high voice. I did not understand the permissive message I was sending. Now, I do. The message that needs to be sent is that inhalant abuse is a serious problem.
The repeated refrain of parents who have lost a child to inhalant abuse is, "But we didn't know." All of us who have lost a child to this form of substance abuse hope that every parent will learn of and use the tools to warn their children about this deadly high. Children naturally think that "if it's in the house, it can't be that dangerous." But inhaling can kill (sometimes on the first instance), can cause organ damage and is highly addictive. It is a very real game of Russian roulette. And it cuts across every socioeconomic group.
Last year, Maryland Del. Tawanna P. Gaines and her administrative assistant, Pamela Powers (who lost her daughter Mackenzie to inhalant abuse), championed the enactment of a law that mandates public education regarding inhalant abuse. Mackenzie's Law is a huge step toward realizing this goal.
But there is more to be done. Studies show that when parents and teachers combine to educate children on abusive behavior, experimentation drops by at least 50 percent. Moreover, while teen drug and alcohol abuse is on the decrease, inhalant abuse is skyrocketing. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, by eighth grade, 29.2 percent of students admit to having used inhalants. By the 12th grade, 51.2 percent of teens have experimented with inhalants at least once. Over the past six years, more than 800 deaths have been linked to inhalant abuse.
Many people might assume, "Not my child. I don't want to give him or her ideas." That is a fantasy. This type of adolescent "recreation" knows no boundaries. Unless children are warned, every child is at risk. Kids see it in movies and television. It is portrayed as harmless and funny on YouTube or the radio. It is impractical if not impossible to lock up the hundreds of items in every home that kids inhale. But we can teach children that inhaling is not "harmless."
I will always be haunted by the question of whether Justin would be with us today had he known about the risks he was taking. Please, give your kids the chance that Justin and Mackenzie did not have.
-- Janna D. Zuber
Webb was staggering when he answered the door, barely able to hold his head up to speak to officers. Officers noticed a paint thinner-type smell, both on Webb and in the home. Webb told officers the odor was from paint thinner and admitted huffing it.
The charges are all felonies, with a three to six month jail sentence for each. The child was found asleep and unharmed.
Responding Officer Brad Rhoads said Leroy was extremely unsteady on his feet and his speech was extremely slurred. Leroy had silver and gold paint around his mouth and on his hands. Leroy was arrested on suspicion of violating the Inhalation Act, Rhoads said.
Nance took off running but was soon apprehended by two other officers. Nance was also unsteady on his feet and had paint around his mouth and hands, Rhoads said. During a pat-down search of Nance, police found a baggy containing what they believe to be marijuana. Nance was arrested on suspicion of possessing marijuana, drug paraphernalia and violating the Inhalation Act.
One reason that gold and silver spray paints are more widely used than other paints is because they contain a higher concentration of toluene. Toluene is absorbed quickly by the brain, heart, liver, heart, and other organs. It is one of the more dangerous inhalants, causing such medical problems as:
- Loss of brain tissue
- Brain toxicity
- Mental impairment, loss of coordination
- Heart arrhythmia
- Hearing and vision loss
- Lung injuries
- Fetal malformation
- Premature birth
"Dusters" are abused frequently, and many parents do not realize that it is composed of more than just compressed air. One of the main ingredients is either tetrafluorethane or difluorethane, both of which replace the oxygen on its way to the brain and can cause severe damage within minutes.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Two officers had to hold him down to place handcuffs on him even after being tased. Police lieutenant Brent Grills said,
"They finally just, both of em got on top of him, the officer (Cherry) had him from behind; he bit him on the forearm, started biting him so they had to tase him again to get him to quit biting. Then they were able to get the handcuffs on him"
Grill also claimed that the chemicals that are inhaled while huffing pain distort pain tolerance. He described both officers as over six feet tall and two hundred pounds, while Wanamaker stood at 5'6", 140 lbs.
- Alcohol use is down, from 32% to 30%.
- Marijuana use is up, from 12% to 13%.
- Inhalant use showed the greatest increase, from 13% to 16%.
About 70% of the students participated in the anonymous survey. 11th graders showed the most drastic decrease in drug and alcohol use, but the inhalant results for that age group weren't disclosed in the articles. Randi Gibson, director of student support services, attributes the decrease in use to the school district's prevention programs.
After talking to Jim Shirley, a program specialist at Oceanside, we have more detailed results of the survey. Here are the two questions asked about inhalant use and their responses, according to grade and year.
1. During your life, did you ever use inhalants?
- 2001 - 4%
- 2003 - 3%
- 2005 - 5%
- 2007 - 4%
- 2001 - 19%
- 2003 - 14%
- 2005 - 18%
- 2007 - 15%
- 2001 - 14%
- 2003 - 12%
- 2005 - 13%
- 2007 - 14%
2. In the past thirty days, did you use inhalants?
5th grade: (not given)
- 2001 - 4%
- 2003 - 6%
- 2005 - 7%
- 2007 - 8%
- 2001 - 9%
- 2003 - 5%
- 2005 - 6%
- 2007 - 3%
- 2001 - 3%
- 2003 - 4%
- 2005 - 3%
- 2007 - 3%
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The teen we spoke with is no longer dusting. After three hits, he says he's afraid of what could happen. But he says there are still cans at some of the parties he goes to and there's no stopping his friends.
Parents should take note of the fact that controlling or even banning dusters and other inhalants in the house doesn't mean that your child will not be pressured to use them in other situations.
A common misconception is that computer dusters are nothing but compressed air, when actually they work using a chemical called difluoroethane that when inhaled can replace the oxygen that your brain needs. This is what produces the high, but it can be very dangerous.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
- The average age that elementary students first used inhalants was 9.4 years.
- Increases in inhalant use between 2002-2004 were larger in girls than in boys.
- Students not living with both parents were more likely to report inhalant use than students from two-parent families.
- The most commonly used inhalant was correction fluid, followed by glue, spray paint, and gasoline.
- More than half of lifetime inhalant users admitted having used at least two different kinds of inhalants.
From the survey of students in grades 7-12:
- Younger students were two to three times more likely to use inhalants than older students.
- An average of 17% of high-school students have used inhalants.
- 54% of students thought that it was easy or somewhat easy to get inhalants.
- Correction fluid and liquid or spray paint were the most common inhalants, followed by nitrous oxide, gasoline, and paint thinner.
To reiterate: it is never too early to start talking to your kids about inhalant use.
"Fellows [an Arizona Highway Patrol Officer] will talk to the arresting officer, then to the suspect driver. A drug recognition expert will rule out head injuries if the driver is involved in an accident, or any mental health issues. Their job is to recognize drug behavior, determining when the last time the driver used drugs and the kind of drugs they used.
The DRE officer interviews the suspect, asking their age, when the last time they slept was, what they ate and any physical effects. The expert will perform eye tests, looking for horizontal or vertical reflexes.
They will also look into a suspect's nose or throat to look for signs of drug use and check the pulse rate and blood pressure, as well as check for needle marks on the suspect's arms.
Fellows determines which drugs the suspect has taken based on seven categories, including depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, narcotics, cannabis, inhalants and dissociative anesthetics."
We've been noticing an increase in the amount of reported stories about abusing inhalants while driving, so it's commendable that the issue is becoming more recognized.
Monday, February 11, 2008
"This resolution urges communities to engage in the dialogue that will help stop drug use before it ever starts. The more people talk about and understand the dangers of drugs, the better off we'll be."
This week is also a good time for parents to discuss inhalant use with their children if they have not already done so.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Thursday, February 7, 2008
In Benton County, Iowa, the District Court is being sued for not suspending the license of 18-year-old Jordan Miller who drove her car down the wrong lane and collided with another vehicle, leaving the driver with life-threatening injuries. Jordan was under the influence of inhalants at the time of the crash. The other driver, Thersia Herron, has been left with $250,000 in medical bills and more are expected. The lawsuit says that the state should have known that Jordan was a threat to other drivers and revoked her license after past infractions.
Hunter Baker, from Enola, Pennsylvania was arrested on Monday after he huffed aerosol fumes and passed out while driving, swerving into another line and hitting a vehicle head-on. One of the passengers in his car broke an eye socket and required thirty stitches.
A mother who was arrested in West Virginia inhaled "an unidentified intoxicating substance", and after passing out accidentally hit the gas while her 5-month-old daughter and another passenger were in the car. The vehicle crossed the street and went into a nearby back yard, after which it took down two fences and went over a six-foot embankment. Then, the car went up a three-foot embankment and struck a building. The driver was not hurt but the baby received a head injury and the passenger was experiencing head and back pain.
Abusing inhalants and driving is not only harmful to the inhaler, but can be dangerous for the passengers, other drivers, and innocent bystanders. Parents usually tell their children not to drink and drive, but huffing and driving is a lethal combination as well.
I asked her if she thought she had a problem and she stated she did have a problem and was attending AA meetings for the past three months, but she is not addicted to inhalants and could quit at anytime.
This is a sad example of how serious inhalant abuse can be.
It's great that high schools are interested in learning more about inhalants and how to intervene when the students are using them. CADRE is a branch of the Virginia Inhalant Abuse Coalition, which works with the Department of Health, Board of Education, and the Poison Control in Virginia to push for more education and legislation about inhalants.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
- Harsh chemical smells, or strong air freshener (can be used as an inhalant or to mask other smells)
- An unusual amount of empty aerosol cans.
- Products in your child's bedroom that shouldn't be there, such as whipped cream cans, paint thinner, cooking spray, nail polish remover in a boy's room, et cetera.
If you find anything that indicates that your child may be abusing inhalants, talk to them. Communication is the best defense against drug use.