Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Drug Abuse Warning Network: Inhalant Data

The Office of Applied Studies at SAMHSA has just released Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2007: Area Profiles of Drug-Related Mortality.

This publication includes data on deaths related to drug misuse and drug-related suicide that were submitted by participating medical examiners/coroners in 63 metropolitan areas and 10 States.

We just went through the study and pulled out all the inhalant data contained within. A short summary of findings follows below:

Drug Related deaths by drug category, 2006-2007

Massachusetts:
Drug Related Deaths to Inhalants in 2006: 9
Drug Related Suicide: Deaths 2006 (Inhalants): 7
Drug Related Suicide: Deaths 2007 (Inhalants): 8
Drug Related Suicide: Single-drug deaths 2007: (inhalants): 4

Oklahoma:
Drug Related Deaths to Inhalants in 2007: 7
Drug Related Single-drug deaths 2007: (inhalants): 6

Oregon:
Drug Related Deaths to Inhalants in 2007: 4
Drug Related Suicide: Deaths 2007 (Inhalants): 4

Virginia:
Drug Related Deaths to Inhalants in 2007: 4

Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH
Drug Related: Deaths to Inhalants in 2006: 4
Drug Related Suicide: Deaths 2006 (Inhalants): 5
Drug Related Suicide: Deaths 2007 (Inhalants): 6
Drug Related Suicide: Single-drug deaths 2007: (inhalants): 4

Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI:
Drug Related: Deaths to Inhalants in 2006: 9
Drug Related: Deaths to Inhalants in 2007: 8

New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA:
Drug Related Deaths to Inhalants in 2007: 4
Drug Related Single-drug deaths 2007: (inhalants): 4
Drug Related Suicide: Deaths 2007 (Inhalants): 5

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ:
Drug Related Deaths to Inhalants in 2007: 6
Drug Related Suicide: Deaths 2007 (Inhalants): 7
Drug Related Suicide: Single-drug deaths 2007: (inhalants): 5

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA:
Drug Related Deaths to Inhalants in 2006:4
Drug Related Deaths to Inhalants in 2007:6
Drug Related Suicide: Deaths 2007 (Inhalants):8

San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA
Drug Related Suicide: Deaths 2007 (Inhalants): 5
Drug Related Suicide: Single-drug deaths 2007: (inhalants): 5

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
Drug Related Suicide: Deaths 2006 (Inhalants): 7

Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH (Middlesex County, MA)
Drug Related Suicide: Deaths 2006 (Inhalants): 4

Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI (Macomb County, MI)
Drug Related: Deaths to Inhalants in 2006: 7
Drug Related: Deaths to Inhalants in 2007: 7

New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA (New York County)
Drug Related Suicide: Deaths 2007 (Inhalants): 4

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA (Pierce County)
Drug Related: Deaths to Inhalants in 2006: 5

Man Dies 'Huffing' Refrigerant

From Stephenville Empire-Tribune in Texas

Last week a 37-year-old Stephenville man died after police caught him ‘huffing’ refrigerant at a local apartment complex- his 2nd ‘huffing’ related offense in just 24 hours. Police records reveal that the suspect was picked up for a similar incident at his residence the night before his death.

Police referred the suspect to a nearby mental health and substance abuse facility to undergo psychiatric evaluation following his initial offense. However, it is unclear whether or not he received medical care, as confidentiality clauses prohibit facility employees from publically disclosing such information.

It is not yet known if the suspect intended to kill himself by ‘huffing’ refrigerant, but investigators have learned that “he did have a spat with his girlfriend who was upset over his addiction” prior to his death. The investigation is ongoing.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A 'Black-Out' Behind The Wheel

From The Daily Dunklin Democrat in Kennett, Missouri

A Missouri driver is being held on a “$50,000 cash-only bond following an automobile accident Saturday evening that caused severe damage to a local business and left another local resident with serious injuries.” A 23-year-old man was driving when he reportedly passed out behind the wheel, lost control of his vehicle, and veered off to the right-hitting a 24-year-old pedestrian and plowing through the side of a tattoo parlor.

Police believe the suspect was driving while under the influence of inhalants; “possibly ‘huffing’ [computer] dust remover” prior to the crash. The driver told police he had ‘blacked out’ only to wake up in the front seat of his car after the collision.

The 24-year-old injured in the incident sustained multiple injuries “including a laceration on his right knee from the front of the leg to the back” and was airlifted to Memphis, Tennessee where a full recovery is expected.

According to county prosecutors, the suspect is being charged with second-degree assault with a motor vehicle and driving with a suspended license. Additional charges are expected to be filed pending the results of a drug screening test. The suspect is facing anywhere from 2 to 7 years in jail for his involvement in Saturday’s accident.

EAA Steps Up to The Plate in Addressing Inhalant Abuse

ACE would like to thank the Eastern Aerosol Association (EAA) for all they are doing to help combat inhalant abuse.

This past summer, EAA partnered with the Camden Riversharks baseball team on an aerosol awareness project . ACE was pleased to see that as part of the project, EAA included a number of anti-huffing messages.

During the home games, ACE’s Public Service Announcement, Silence, was played on the large on-field screen. In addition, Queshia Bradley, ACE Education Programs Coordinator, conducted a live interview with the game announcer in stadium.

Third, EAA Board Members, during the games, volunteered their time to staff an informational tabletop display. In the photo below, EAA Board Trustees Maria-Lind Hansen and Chris Nyarady help distribute ACE’s materials and inform consumers about the dangers of inhalant abuse.


For more information on the Eastern Aerosol Association, please visit: http://www.easternaerosol.com/

Monday, September 28, 2009

Inhalants in Brunei

Via Bru Direct in Brunei, Southeast Asia

According to the acting assistant director of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), “Inhalants are newly preferred drug substance abused by young people in the Sultanate.”

He mentioned that it has included “sniffing kangaroo glue, thinner and nail polish” and they have caught students abusing inhalants both at home and in schools. To combat the issue the NCB will hold mobile exhibits to raise public awareness of the issue. They are even targeting weddings where they will be “able to catch the attention of guests before they enter the houses.”

Man Sentenced For 'Huffing' Duster

From Leader Telegram Online in Eau Claire, Wisconsin

A 32-year-old Wisconsin man was found guilty on two misdemeanor counts of “possessing a hazardous substance with intent to abuse, and intentionally inhaling a hazardous substance” last week, and has been ordered to receive regular drug counseling, undergo a psychological examination, and pay $280 in fines. He has also been sentenced to two years of probation.

According to police records, the suspect was seen inhaling computer duster while loitering in a restaurant parking lot earlier this year- only to be caught weeks later ‘huffing’ duster and “urinating in a yard.”

Friday, September 25, 2009

School Drug Testing and Inhalant Use

From Rosebud News in Texas:

In an article about drug testing in schools, an interesting sentence caught our eye:

In 2007, the American Academy of Pediatrics determined: 1) drug testing may motivate adolescents to switch to drugs which pose greater danger (such as inhalants), but are undetectable by screening tests.

Grieving Mother Seeks Justice

From WLBT 3 News in Jackson, Mississippi

In 2008, two Lincoln County teenagers were killed in a horrific car accident when the vehicle they were riding in “went airborne, flipped, and landed on top of them.” Accident reports reveal that a total of six teens were present in the car at the time of the crash. The vehicle’s driver, who was behind the wheel despite having a suspended license passed out and lost control of the car after “using an inhalant to get high.”

More than a year has passed and no charges have been filed against the young driver. A mother who lost her daughter in the crash is speaking out and demanding legal action be taken against the responsible party. She believes the driver was under the influence of inhalants- computer duster when he lost control; claiming several of the teen passengers (her daughter included) to have been ‘huffing’ the cleaner and “getting dusted” prior to the accident.

Toxicology tests found traces of diflouroethane (a chemical found in computer duster) in the driver’s blood, but no criminal charges have been pressed. Eight cans of computer duster were reportedly found at the crash scene. The Lincoln County District Attorney is currently reviewing the accident report and is expected to rule on whether enough evidence is available “to prove a crime was committed” sometime next week.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

13-Year-Old Critically Injured After 'Huffing' Propane Gas

From the Hartford Courant in Connecticut

In early September, police and EMTs were called to respond to a case of a 13-year-old boy suffering an allergic reaction. It turns out it was not an allergic reaction; instead, he was suffering the effects of huffing propane.

The article notes he had suffered “a severe case of frostbite to his eyes, mouth, throat and lungs as he inhaled the gas that comes out of its container at 40 degrees below zero.” He also suffered significant tissue damage.

After being rushed to Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford, he was put into a medically induced coma. Earlier reports that the boy's hands were amputated are untrue, according to a spokesman for the boy's family. The boy, who was not identified, was released from the hospital Wednesday afternoon.

The director of the Connecticut Poison Center is quoted “A frostbite injury would appear as a burn. The end result is the same — damage to the tissue." He also remarked, “A severe case of inhalation of propane can interfere with blood circulation. The tissue then dies and it becomes gangrenous."

He also reports that “there are several cases a year in Connecticut in which youngsters are severely injured by inhaling propane to experience a high.”

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

'Huffer' Plows Through Home

From News Channel 3 in Virginia Beach, VA

Police have charged a woman with ‘driving under the influence of drugs’ after she plowed her car through a home in Virginia Beach. Police say she “was ‘huffing’ a can of computer keyboard duster before and after the accident.” The car went entirely through the house and into the backyard. Luckily, no one was home at the time of the crash.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Driver Crashes Into Railroad Sign

From The Morning Sentinel in Maine

Yesterday, a 23 year-old woman was charged with “unlawful use or possession of inhalants and other violations” after her car veered off the road and struck a railroad crossing warning sign.

Witnesses saw the accident occur and came to the woman’s aid. They found the woman unconscious and she was taken to the hospital. She admitted to the police that before the crash she had been inhaling computer dusters and police note that five empty cans had been found in her car.

Fewer Hernando County Students Using Inhalants

From TampaBay.com in Florida

In the article regarding the elimination of the DARE Program in Hernando County, an interesting data point:

According to the Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey, since 2002 there has been a 1.2% decrease in inhalant use amongst Hernando County students.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Driver Faces 8-Year Prison Sentence

From The Daily Item in Sunbury, PA

A 22-year-old Pennsylvania woman plead guilty to charges of vehicular homicide last week, and could face up to eight years in prison for her involvement in a car crash that killed her passenger and severely injured another motorist. The driver, who admitted to “huffing” computer duster prior to the accident later “told paramedics that she had done ‘something stupid’ while driving- inhaling duster.” Local police officers confiscated four cans of computer dust remover from the suspect's car shortly after the collision.

In court last week, the suspect plead guilty to homicide by motor vehicle, use of illegal solvents, two counts of driving on the wrong side of the road, and a seat belt violation in connection to the January 2009 accident. Official sentencing is set for mid-November.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Teen Dies From 'Dusting'

From The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle in Washington

A medical examiner in Okanogan County, Washington has ruled the September 10th death of 15-year-old, Sydney Peone an accidental drug overdose- caused by a fatal ingestion of aerosol computer duster. Sydney was laid to rest earlier this week among family and friends who described the Lake Roosevelt High School freshman as a “happy and fun-loving girl.”

Sydney was found dead in her bedroom last week when her mother attempted to wake her up in the morning for school. Additional details have yet to be released to the public. The teen was a member of Lake Roosevelt’s junior varsity volleyball team.

Famous Fashion Photographer Killed

From KESQ News in Palm Springs, California

A well-known fashion photographer, Alberto Jose Serejo, 51, was killed during a photo shoot when he was struck by a driver “under the influence of inhalants and prescription drugs” on Highway 62 in San Bernardino County, California late Wednesday.

Serejo, a “Brazilian born Danish photographer was working with live models during a high fashion shoot in front of the Joshua Tree Inn” when a Mazda pick-up truck veered off the highway at 50 mph, jumped the curb, and hit him from behind around 5:10 p.m. An ambulance transported Serejo to nearby High Desert Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 6:22 p.m.

The driver, who fled the scene, was caught by authorities shortly after 6:00 p.m. when he crashed his truck into an oncoming vehicle at an intersection several miles away. California Highway Patrol officers quickly determined that the vehicle had been involved in the hit-and-run, and took the suspect, 57-year-old Daniel Howell, of Joshua Tree into custody for a drug evaluation and further questioning.

Howell was later arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of inhalants and prescription drugs, felony hit and run, and vehicular manslaughter. The California Highway Patrol is investigating the collision.

Alberto Serejo’s work can be seen on his online portfolio at http://www.astudio.dk/.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

FBI Joins Search For 'Missing' Nitrous Oxide

From The Connecticut Post in Bridgeport, CT

The FBI, a grand jury, and federal prosecutors have joined forces with Connecticut’s Bridgeport Police Department to investigate the whereabouts of more than 100 canisters of missing nitrous oxide that were confiscated during the ‘Gathering of the Vibes’ music festival, held in late July.

Several security guards patrolling the event (none of which were law-enforcement officers) seized over 100 gas-filled canisters and balloons from attendees who were distributing and selling the ‘restricted’ substance on-site. However, the gas has yet to be turned over to police and the FBI wants to know why. The investigation is ongoing-but allegations have surfaced that several security guards are involved and may know the whereabouts of the missing gas.

Held annually in Bridgeport, the ‘Gathering of the Vibes’ concert is a 4 day music, camping, and arts festival that showcases a wide variety of music and entertainment. This year the event “attracted at least 30,000 people during its July 22-25 run.”

Sources have revealed to police that a group known as the Philadelphia Nitrous Mafia played a significant role in the selling and distributing of “laughing-gas-laden balloons” among concertgoers; successfully smuggling the gas past security guards. The drug group apparently inflated balloons with nitrous oxide and sold them for $5 to $10; investing $100 to fill a 40-pound tank with nitrous oxide- capable of filling over 300 balloons. The FBI has opened a full investigation.

Fortunately, Connecticut State Police are strengthening efforts to combat the wide spread sale of nitrous oxide. On August 14th police officers arrested eight people and seized 18 tanks of nitrous oxide at a Phish music concert in Hartford. “While nitrous oxide is not defined as a controlled substance, it is considered a restricted substance.” Possession of the gas for noncommercial use carries a stiff $1,000 fine along with a two-year maximum prison sentence. The Federal Government prohibits the sale and/or distribution of nitrous oxide for human consumption under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act.

Uncle Sets Nephew On Fire

From KOB News 4 in New Mexico

A New Mexico man who set his 19-year-old nephew on fire now faces a charge of attempted murder. The incident occurred early last week after a fight broke out between the two men. The suspect allegedly “threw gasoline on [the teen] during the argument” and proceeded to light him on fire. Police say the suspect then fled on foot, and was found “two hours later holding a clear plastic bottle containing gasoline.” Several unidentified witnesses informed police that the suspect was “huffing gas vapors at the time of the incident.”

The burnt teen is being treated for second and third degree burns to his face, neck, and arms, and has undergone several skin grafts to repair the damage. It is not yet clear if the suspect will also face charges related to ‘huffing.’

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Teen Starts Fire After 'Huffing' Duster

From The Marion Star in Marion, Ohio

An Ohio teen has confessed to being high from inhaling computer duster- when he set fire to underwear in a department store. Security cameras in the men’s wear area of a local Wal-mart caught the 18-year-old setting fire to several packages of clothes while ‘playing hooky’ from school. The teen later told investigators “he had called off sick from school that morning and entered the store after ‘huffing’ from a can of computer duster." Luckily, store employees were able to safely extinguish the fire that damaged 25 packages of men’s underwear.

The suspect, who was initially indicted on a first-degree felony charge of aggravated arson for using a butane lighter to start the fire during store hours, was granted a third-degree felony charge in exchange for a guilty plea. Last week the teen was sentenced to 180 days in jail, with credit for time served, and three years of community control sanctions that include being subjected to random drug testing. The Coshocton County Court has yet to decide whether the teen will endure a three year prison sentence for his actions.

Monday, September 14, 2009

New National Inhalant Data- NSDUH

Last week, the results of the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) were released.
The annual survey is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and is considered the “primary source of information on the use of illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco in the civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the United States aged 12 years old or older.” It surveys approximately 67,500 persons each year.
From the findings:
  • From 2002-2008 there were decreases in the use of inhalants (from 0.5 to 0.3%)

  • There was no significant change in the number of inhalant initiates from 2007 to 2008, but the 2008 estimate was significantly below the number in 2003 (871,000), 2004 (857,000), and 2005 (877,000).

  • However, there was a significant decrease in the average age at first use among recent initiates aged 12 to 49 from 2007 (17.1 years) to 2008 (15.9 years).

  • In 2008, 9.7% of respondents, aged 12 or older, reported inhalants as their first drug.

  • In 2008, there were 729,000 persons aged 12 or older who had used inhalants for the first time within the past 12 months; 70.4% were under age 18 when they first used.

  • In 2008: 1.1% of youths aged 12 to 17 used inhalants; 1.2% of 12-13 year olds; 1.3% of 14-15 year olds; 0.7% of 16-17 year olds

  • From 2002 to 2008, there were declines in young adults' past month inhalant use (from 0.5 to 0.3%)

  • In 2008, among adults aged 26 or older, 0.1% have used inhalants

  • Among youths aged 12 to 17 in 2008, males and females had similar rates of current use of inhalants (1.1% for both).

  • In 2008, inhalants came in 5th for the specific drug categories with the largest number of recent initiates among persons aged 12 or older: inhalants (0.7 million)

The table below compares the 2002-2008 data from both the NSDUH and Monitoring the Future (MTF) national studies.



In Remembrance of Sierrah Le Yarbrough


Today, September 14, 2009 would have marked Sierrah Yarbrough’s 14th birthday; a milestone family members, friends, and loved ones will have to celebrate alone. Despite Sierrah’s absence, her life will never be forgotten- as her memory will resonate in the hearts and souls of those who knew her best.

On August 27, 2008 just a few weeks shy of her 13th birthday, Sierra Le Yarbrough, of Hannibel, Missouri passed away at University of Missouri Hospital in Columbia as a result of ‘huffing.’ Her death came as a shock to many in the community who described Sierrah as “a good kid.” Yarbrough was transported to Columbia for medical care after she was found unresponsive in her bed; allegedly after inhaling aerosol hair spray. Despite receiving extensive medical attention she was unable to regain consciousness and died.

Hannibal resident Tomika Kyle expressed her sentiments on the tragedy just days after organizing Sierrah’s memorial service; “determined that something positive [would] come out of this loss… encouraging adults to rally together to help find something [constructive] for teens to do with their idle time” in an effort to circumvent future tragedies.

More information on the life and legacy of Sierrah Le Yarbrough can be viewed here.

Police Find Tanks of Nitrous Oxide

From WKTV News in Utica, New York

A 45 year-old Ohio man was charged with the illegal sale and use of Nitrous Oxide, 3rd degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle (due to a suspended license), and failure to wear a seat belt following a Labor Day traffic stop in suburban New York. The driver, who was leaving an annual music festival, was initially pulled over by local police for not wearing a seatbelt. However, upon a routine inspection officers discovered 18 tanks of Nitrous Oxide in the vehicle. The driver was arrested and jailed on $1,250 bail.

Inhalant Use Higher in Guam Than in the US

From The Pacific Daily News in Guam:

The 4th Annual PEACE Conference was recently held as part of Suicide Awareness, Intervention and Prevention Month. At the conference, local leaders and coalition members discussed substance abuse prevention.

One the speakers (Annette David, a doctor with Health Partners LLC) presented the results of the “2007 Substance Abuse Epidemiological Profile, which was compiled by the State Epidemiological Workgroup under the Governor's PEACE Project.”

From the report, an alarming statistic: “inhalant and marijuana use among youth is higher in Guam than in the United States.”

Friday, September 11, 2009

UPDATE: Driver Taken Into Police Custody

From The Delaware County Daily Times in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania driver responsible for killing a 19-year-old girl and seriously injuring her 20-year old friend on August 14, 2009 was arrested by police yesterday on charges of vehicular homicide. Rachael Jankins, 20, initially told investigators that she lost control of her car while “changing a song on her iPod.” Police however, have confirmed that Jankins was under the influence of marijuana and using inhalants at the time of the accident.

Yesterday afternoon Jankins was taken into custody without incident at her residence and was “transported to the Upper Darby police station for questioning.” Police arrived in a “caravan of four vehicles unannounced at 1:30 p.m. at Jankins' home with a warrant for her arrest.”

Jankins appeared in court before a District Judge yesterday and was “arraigned on charges of vehicular homicide, homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, reckless driving, involuntary manslaughter, DUI, simple and aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and illegal use of solvents for allegedly huffing prior to the accident.” Her bail has been set at 10 percent of $250,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, but it is not yet known if Jankins has an attorney.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Driver Crashes Car Into House

From KXnet.com in Minot, North Dakota

A news report out of Bismarck, North Dakota details an unusual car accident- one that has left three local males facing multiple drug charges, including illegal “inhalation of vapors” and drug possession, as well as extensive property damage fines.

Last weekend around midnight a car driven by one of the men along with two passengers veered off the road at a neighborhood intersection; driving over lawns and eventually striking the side of a house. Police reports document that both the driver and his passengers were abusing inhalants at the time of the crash.

No one was seriously injured in the accident. However, the homeowner was shaken and “absolutely horrified” by the damage, recalling how he was awoken by the noise of the crash. The collision damaged the foundation of the house, shattered several windows, and broke pictures hanging on the wall.

'Huffer' Rescued From Drainage Ditch

From KSAT Online News in San Antonio, Texas

A man who had been huffing paint from a beer can had to be rescued from rushing water earlier this week in San Antonio.

A passing motorist noticed the man in a drainage ditch and stopped to offer help. When the man refused, the driver called 911 and waited for police. The man kept signaling for the police to leave. When officers threw a safety rope down to him he refused to put it on and kept repeatedly taking it off. “He was eventually pulled from the water and was not hurt.”

Huffing & Driving: A Fatal Combination

From the Philly.com Daily News in Pennsylvania

Last month, a 20 year old female lost control of her car and drove onto a sidewalk at Delaware County Memorial Hospital striking two female pedestrians; killing one and critically injuring the other. Nicole Gallo, 19 of Clifton Heights was killed instantly when Rachael Jankins, 20 veered off the road, crossed two lanes of traffic, and hit Gallo from behind. Gallo's 20 year old friend sustained multiple injuries from the crash "including a broken back."

Jankins initially told police that she had been “searching for her iPod” prior to the incident; but toxicology reports reveal traces of the chemical difluoroethane to have been present in her system at the time of the crash- a chemical found in computer dusting products. Police also recovered a can of computer duster from the vehicle. Jankins could face charges of vehicular homicide and manslaughter in connection to the crash.

This is not the first time area residents have been confronted with the dangerous reality of inhalant abuse. In 1999, five high school juniors were killed when the car they were riding in hit a tree. The driver and three passengers were found to have difluoroethane in their blood. A can of computer duster was found in the car.

In 2001, a 17 year old honors student was killed when her truck hit a tree after she had been inhaling computer duster.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pounds of Nitrous Oxide Found In Car

From WTOV9 News in Ohio

This past weekend, four individuals from Pennsylvania were pulled over and are now facing felony drug charges. Pounds of nitrous oxide gas were found among other contents in the car.

Drug Recognition Program Honoree

From the Clarion News in Pennsylvania

Clarion Borough Police Officer William Scheckler Sr. recently received a letter of commendation for his “utilization of the state police drug recognition expert program.”

The program started in the 1970s in Los Angeles after officers noted that “many of the individuals arrested for driving under the influence had very low or zero alcohol concentrations.” There wasn’t any training to be able to differentiate alcohol from other causes including drugs or other substances so two of the LAPD officers solicited help from the medical community. Together, they developed a “standardized procedure for recognizing drug influence and impairment.”

The result was a “multi-step protocol and the first DRE program in the United States.” The article also points out that “43 states, the District of Columbia, three branches of the military, the Internal Revenue Service, and several countries around the world participate in the DEC program.”

In Officer Scheckler’s case, it was noted that one of his arrests and evaluations “has the distinction of being only the second evaluation of more than 2,000 in Pennsylvania in which an inhalant was called and confirmed by toxicology.”

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Driver Caught 'Huffing' Spray Paint

From Greene County Daily World in Indiana

A 20-year-old Lyons, Indiana man suspected of impaired driving is being charged with inhaling toxic vapors (a class B misdemeanor) after he was “stopped in a roadway with gold-colored paint on his hands, face, and pants, and inside his nose.” Officers were dispatched to the scene after receiving several reports of a stopped vehicle blocking oncoming traffic along a country road. Police found the suspect covered in gold-colored paint; holding a spray-paint can, and a plastic bag filled with paint. The driver later admitted to ‘huffing’ spray paint in his car and “that it was something he did regularly.”

Friday, September 4, 2009

Jury Acquits Driver of 'Huffing'

From the Rapid City Journal in Rapid City, South Dakota

A 26 year-old male who was charged with a DUI after he failed to pass field sobriety tests at a routine traffic stop last May, has been found not guilty of driving under the influence by a jury. A great deal of controversy has surrounded the case, as the presiding judge refused to acknowledge police reports citing the suspect’s alleged intoxication, stating that no ‘scientific evidence’ was available to validate the intoxicating effects of inhalants on the body.

Under oath, the 26 year old driver testified that he had been fixing his car’s stereo system with computer duster in an attempt to reset it- not ‘huffing’ the can's contents like police presumed. However, police reports offer a different account of the incident- claiming the suspect was visibly high when stopped by officers and was very unresponsive to several key sobriety evaluations. Ultimately a panel of jurors took only 35 minutes to determine the suspect was not guilty of DUI.

High Teens Crash Lawnmower

From Fox 2 News WJBK in Detroit, Michigan

Two Fraser teens are facing several criminal charges after they stole a riding lawnmower and crashed it into a police squad car while high. The suspects- 17 and 18 year-old males are accused of stealing a lawnmower and driving it to a local convenience store to purchase a can of aerosol to ‘huff.’ While on their way home, the teens high from ‘huffing’ aerosol crashed into a police cruiser just before sunrise last Saturday. Damages are estimated at a couple hundred dollars. No one was injured in the collision. Both teens face felony charges of receiving and concealing stolen property, malicious destruction of police property and underage consumption of alcohol.

Additional details as well as a video documenting the incident can be found at http://www.clickondetroit.com/video/20674927/.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Infamous Paint 'Huffer' Back In Jail

From The Intelligencer in Wheeling, West Virginia

A West Virginia Man was arrested last weekend after police found him inhaling spray paint in a local park. This marks the suspect’s 6th inhalant related offense since July 2005 when officers “found him covered in gold paint and attempting to purchase more paint.”

Police received a call early Saturday afternoon from an anonymous source claiming to have seen a man ‘huffing’ paint in a secluded area known as the Mud Pit. According to reports, the suspect resisted arrest- forcing officers to use pepper spray to subdue him. Once in police custody the suspect was “sprayed down with water” to remove chemical residue left from the pepper spray. He was then transported to a nearby hospital, where he underwent a thorough medical examination before being taken to the Northern Regional Jail on charges of inhaling intoxicants and obstructing a police officer.

Earlier this year, the suspect was arrested after officers discovered him hitchhiking on a West Virginia bypass; “his eyes glazed over and bloodshot…his face and hands covered in gold and gray spray paint.”