Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Man Beaten by Huffer in Pennsylvania Rite-Aid

From the Morning Call in Pennsylvania:

A 54 year-old drug store clerk in Schuylkill County tried to stop a man from huffing in the store and was beaten.

The man was working in a Rite-Aid when he noticed a man take two aerosol cans off a shelf and start to inhale from the cans. When he confronted the man, he was punched and kicked several times in the head, chest and back. The man then ran from the store.

Butane Death in South Africa

From the Independent Online:

On November 29th, a 23 year-old man was found dead, lying at the poolside of his brother’s house. He is suspected of abusing butane gas.

A few months ago, his father had found the man huffing lighter fuel in his bedroom, spoke to him about it, and thought the situation was concluded.

Sandra Pretorius, director of the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence notes that “only one to two cases from their monthly caseload of around 60 were butane based.” She also noted that in the past it was a popular inhalant for street children but is now more commonly used by a wider population and that the centre has seen inhalant cases in children as young as ten years old.

In addition, she remarked that drug use typically increases during this season as students are writing their exams and are “looking for stimulants to stay awake.”

14 Year-old Girl Dead After Huffing

From the Behavioral Health Central:

Authorities suspect inhalant abuse killed a 14 year-old female in New Mexico.

Gianna Martinez’s parents were out buying a car while she stayed home. At 3:15 pm her father spoke with her via phone and she told him everything was fine. A little while later after she didn’t respond to a second call, her mother became concerned and the family returned home to check on her.

Gianna’s 9 year-old brother was the one who found her lying in a home office, the can of keyboard cleaner on the floor beside her. Her mother, a nurse, performed CPR on her but Gianna was unresponsive and two hours later was pronounced dead at the hospital.

For more information on the dangers of huffing computer dusters, please visit our Duster FAQ sheet.

Serial Paint Huffer Kills 73-Year Old Man

From WYFF4.com in Boiling Springs, South Carolina:

A 50 year-old man who has been “convicted nearly two dozen times of huffing paint” was sentenced earlier this month for killing a 73-year old man.


The 73-year old man and his wife had befriended the 50 year-old male months ago, offering him food and shelter. However, one night, the man came home in a delusional state and begin cursing in a telephone conversation. When the homeowner questioned him about his language, the man “knocked him to the floor and bent his legs back over his head and crushed him with his weight.” The man suffered a broken neck and died from his injury two weeks later.

The man’s wife found her husband when she came home and called 911. The man was still conscious and able to identify his attacker. The 50 year-old was arrested and will be required to “serve more than 25 years of his prison sentence before he is eligible for release.”

Huffing Incidents in Arkansas

From the BaxterBulletin.Com in Mountain Home, Arkansas:

Mountain Home Police are concerned about the recent increase in the use of computer dusters to get high.

This past month they have responded to two local cases. In the first, a 28-year old female was found slumped over her steering wheel in a parking lot. When the police arrived, she begin inhaling from a can of computer dusting spray.

In the second, a 27-year-old female was also found in her car in a parking lot. Within the car police found an empty can of the dusting spray and another half empty bottle. She was “arrested and charged with breathing, inhaling or drinking certain intoxicating compounds, a misdemeanor.”

Lt. Nevin Barnes from the Mountain Home police's criminal investigations division noted thattwo of the last three cases of huffing computer dusting spray that he has personally dealt with resulted in death.

For more information on the dangers of huffing computer dusters, please read our Computer Duster FAQ sheet

New Inhalant Data: 2009 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey

The results of the 2009 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey were recently released.

Below you'll find inhalant-specific data from their findings. Click on each image below for a larger copy.






Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Refrigerant Thefts in Tennessee

From VolunteerTV.Com in Tennessee:

Sevier County, TN authorities are concerned about several recent refrigerant thefts and they fear that the refrigerant is being used as an inhalant by at least two individuals.

The article describes the most recent case. Last Sunday, two young males in a “blue late model Honda civic with Tennessee tags” approached the heating and ventilation system of a local drug store. Surveillance cameras caught the incident and the owners soon noticed the system wasn’t working as the refrigerant has been stolen.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Men Caught 'Huffing' in Restroom

From The Sentinel in Pennsylvania

Two males, one 27 and the other 22, have been charged with retail theft and public drunkenness in the form of inhaling illegal solvents after they were caught stealing three cans of dust remover from the shelves of a local retail store on the morning of December 20th. Reports allege the two men took the cans of unpaid computer duster into the store's restroom and proceeded to 'huff' the contents in a bathroom stall. Court dates have yet to be publicly released.

Police Pull-Over Disoriented Driver

From The Niles Daily Star in Michigan

After observing a pick-up truck with no headlights on traveling northbound in a southbound lane early last Tuesday morning, Niles City Police stopped the vehicle only to discover the driver was high after ‘huffing’ paint. At 1:58 a.m. officers “found the driver exhibiting slow and lethargic behavior- appearing disoriented.” After searching the truck and finding “baggies and canister of spray paint,” police determined the driver had been inhaling fumes from the cans of spray paint. Officers transported the driver to a nearby hospital for evaluation and are awaiting the approval for an arrest warrant.

Charges To Be Filed In Duster Accident

From The News Tribune in Washington

Criminal charges are expected to be filed against a 20-year-old Washington woman for her involvement in a three-car collision last October. According to police reports, Kristina Vogt passed out behind the wheel after ‘huffing’ computer duster with friends- prompting her vehicle to swerve into oncoming traffic at speeds of more than 60 mph.

In an attempt to regain control of the vehicle, Vogt’s front seat passenger grabbed the wheel but was unable to avoid striking an oncoming truck. Vogt will likely be charged with “vehicular assault for causing the crash and injuring two passengers in her car.” No other injuries were reported.

Following extensive police questioning, Vogt admitted to ‘huffing’ computer duster prior to the accident; telling officers she and her two female passengers had purchased the duster from a local store and had been inhaling the contents in a nearby parking lot. Officers later recovered three canisters of duster from the vehicle. Police have also confirmed that samples of Vogt’s blood collected after the crash show traces of “marijuana and an ingredient commonly found in dust removers.”

Friday, December 18, 2009

Crash Points to 'Dusting'

From Cleburne Times-Review in Texas

Authorities in Cleburne, Texas believe ‘huffing’ is to blame for a single vehicle wreck that occurred early Tuesday morning- injuring three. Although the investigation is ongoing, an officer was able to document the entire accident with a video recording device, revealing the vehicle “drive up on the curb, swerve back left, and cross all lanes of traffic before crashing into the side of a church, bouncing off and coming to a rest.”

None of the three people inside the vehicle were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash. According to police, the 23-year-old driver suffered minimal injuries. However, the front seat passenger, an 18-year-old male, was airlifted by helicopter to a nearby medical center where he is currently being treated for critical brain injuries. The third passenger, a 17-year-old male, was reportedly treated for a skull fracture.

Criminal charges are expected to be filed pending a full investigation. Local news coverage of the accident can be viewed at WFAA-TV.com.

Couple Sniffs Glue In Front Of Child

From TheNewsStar.com in Louisiana

A mother and father are in jail after authorities caught them sniffing glue while driving their 2-month-old child from a local shopping mall early Thursday. According to police reports the couple was initially pulled over by “a member if the sheriff’s Interstate Crime Enforcement Unit” for excessive speeding- traveling 77 mph in a 60 mph zone. However upon approaching the vehicle, the deputy “smelled the overwhelming odor of a toxic chemical, saw several glue tubes on the floorboard, and observed glue particles on the lips, noise, hands, and clothing of the couple.”

After submitting to police questioning the noticeably impaired couple, both 26, admitted they had been sniffing glue while on their way home from a shopping trip with their child. Both are being charged with “abuse of toxic vapors and cruelty to a juvenile.” The infant was taken to a nearby medical center for evaluation and is currently in the custody of Child Protective Services.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Grocery Store Sued For Wrongful Death

From The Dothan Eagle in Alabama

Earlier this month a Dothan Circuit Court judge ruled that a full trial would be necessary in order to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed against a local grocery store. City resident Mary Downing filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Southern Family Markets grocer in February 2007, holding the business directly responsible for the death of her husband. On January 13, 2007 Larry Downing was struck and killed in the parking lot of Southern Family Markets by a female driver who was ‘huffing’ behind the wheel.

Downing’s suit (which also holds the City of Dothan liable) contends that a store supervisor knew the driver was under the influence of inhalants and even witnessed the woman “take a hit of computer duster” while driving through the grocery store parking lot- just moments before the fatal crash.

While the legal dispute between Downing and Southern Family Markets will most likely culminate into a civil trial in the upcoming year, the driver responsible for the accident pleaded guilty to the murder of Larry Downing and was sentenced to 25 years in prison last month.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Man Targets Dairy Aisle

From LancasterOnline.com in Pennsylvania

A 24-year-old male was arrested last Friday after he was caught stealing from a local business. The suspect reportedly took a canister of whipped cream from a dairy aisle shelf and proceeded to 'huff' the nitrous oxide from the can before returning the product to the shelf. He then attempted to leave the store with unpaid merchandise that included “an iPod case, cosmetics, and armbands valued at $32.20.” The suspect was arrested and charged with a felony offense of retail theft due to his numerous prior shoplifting convictions, and is being held in jail on a $15,000 cash bond.

City Approves Anti-Huffing Ordinance

From Pasadena Star-News in California

Officials in Azusa, California have passed a city-wide mandate in the hopes of deterring local teens and tweens from abusing aerosol products- drastically reducing the practice of ‘huffing.’ It is now considered a misdemeanor for anyone under the age of 18 to possess an aerosol product without proper parent and/or guardian documentation. Last summer, City Councilman Robert Gonzales began to lobby for an anti-huffing ordinance after discovering aerosol cans concealed in various student hangouts and shopping centers across the community during a city beautification project. Gonzales believes the mandate will drastically reduce crime and drug abuse among Azusa teens.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Restroom 'Huffer' Apprehended

From THonline.com in Dubuque, Iowa

Police arrested a 30-year-old woman on Sunday afternoon inside a convenience store on charges of ‘sniffing chemicals.’ Store employees reportedly notified police that there “was a woman ‘huffing’ from a can” in the restroom. When officers arrived to the store and entered the restroom they discovered the suspect standing over the sink; struggling to hold herself up. Officers then recovered an empty 10-ounce can of computer duster from the woman’s coat pocket.

Dental Office Burglarized

From the Denton Record-Chronicle in Texas

Last week police received word that a local dental office had been burglarized overnight. The dentist told officers the intruders “threw a large decorative rock through a glass door to make entry” and proceeded to steal a large tank of nitrous oxide stored in the office for dental procedures. The tank of nitrous oxide was taken from a closet and is “4 feet tall, blue, and heavy” according to the dentist. Police are continuing their investigation and are working to apprehend the thieves.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Teen Assaults ER Doc

From The Gladwin County Record in Michigan

Police were called to Mid Michigan Medical Center earlier this month after being notified that an emergency room doctor had been assaulted by a patient. According to police reports, the 18-year-old patient “was taken to the emergency room by his father for consuming approximately 20 Xanax pills and ‘huffing’ an aerosol product.”

The teen apparently lashed out and punched the ER doctor in the face after being repeatedly questioned as to the type of drugs he had ingested. The teen will appear in court January 1st on charges of assault and battery.

Jury Finds Driver Guilty

From Casper Star Tribune Online in Wyoming

On December 10th a jury found Justin Breazele, 23, of Casper guilty of aggravated vehicular homicide in the death of a 72-year-old woman after less than two hours of deliberation. The 23-year-old was charged with vehicular homicide after he passed out behind the wheel of a truck and slammed into a passing station wagon driven by a 72-year-old woman last March. He was allegedly ‘huffing’ computer duster prior to the fatal collision.

An accident expert with the Casper Police Department testified that Breazeale’s vehicle crossed three lanes of traffic before striking the victim’s car, which was either stopped or barely moving. Evidence indicated that Breazeale was traveling around 33 mph and failed to utilize his brakes.

Investigators recovered two cans of computer duster from Breazeale’s vehicle after the accident- one of which had been used. Breazeale told police he had bought the duster in an attempt to clean up a pile of cigarette ashes that had spilled onto the floor. However, authorities were unable to locate any trace of ash inside the vehicle.

In court Breazeale admitted to not remembering the fatal crash, denying claims that he had been huffing computer duster. He also told jurors a pre-existing medical condition was to blame for his blacking out behind the wheel; identified as epilepsy.

However, “Breazeale's ex-girlfriend who was riding in the truck when the accident occurred testified Breazeale had huffed duster in the minutes leading up to the crash and was passed out when he struck the victim’s vehicle.”

Breazeale is expected to be sentenced within the next two months and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years behind bars.

Police Catch 'Huffing' Shoplifter

From The Argus Leader in South Dakota

A 34-year-old Sioux Falls man was arrested earlier this month for assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, shoplifting, and inhaling a substance for the purpose of becoming intoxicated. The suspect was caught stealing several cans of computer duster from a local store and ‘huffing’ their contents in the store’s restroom. Employees reportedly “heard a hissing noise coming from the bathroom” and immediately confronted the man and forced him to leave the premises. Employees then notified police of the incident, submitting a full description of the ‘huffer.’ Police located the suspect shortly thereafter, and despite a “brief scuffle” placed the suspect into custody. No injuries have been reported.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Man Caught 'Huffing' Propane

From WBKT News in Wisconsin

A 38-year-old Wisconsin man faces more than six years in prison after he was arrested for “allegedly huffing propane gas” at a local mall. According to reports, a mall security guard witnessed the suspect “put his mouth and nose toward the nozzle of a propane tank and inhale.” After being spotted, the suspect apparently fled to a different nearby store where he continued to ‘huff.’ The suspect was eventually detained by police and charged with “illegal possession of a hazardous substance and bail jumping.”

Friday, December 4, 2009

Man Arrested Twice in 24-Hours

From The Rockdale Citizen in Georgia

A 45-year-old Covington man was arrested twice in a span of 24-hours last month after being caught “intentionally inhaling model glue fumes and driving while under the influence of multiple substances.”

According to police reports, officers first found the suspect ‘huffing’ in a parked minivan outside of a local retail store. As officers approached the vehicle the suspect continued to “inhale vigorously;” appearing very “disoriented and confused.” Following a complete search of the minivan, police recovered 8-11 canisters of aerosol, various prescription medications, and an empty bottle of liquor. The suspect, who was placed into police custody and released later that day, admitted to having huffed the contents of 8 cans in the hours leading up to his arrest.

The following day, the 45-year-old was arrested for his involvement in a “one-vehicle traffic accident.” A resident called police after witnessing a minivan drive over a mailbox and flee the scene. The witness also noticed the driver was ‘huffing’ from a can of computer duster.

Police were able to track down the suspect in his minivan parked outside of a local grocery store. He was arrested and charged with “driving under the influence of multiple substances, striking a fixed object, and failure to stop at the scene of an accident.” As of November 25 the suspect remained in jail.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mother Jailed For 'Huffing' in front of Son

From WSMV-TV News in Nashville, Tennessee

The mother who was caught huffing computer duster while driving as her 6-year-old son looked on from the back seat, will spend 30 days in jail on a DUI charge. On August 18th a passing motorist noticed the suspect driving erratically and even witnessed her take several ‘hits’ from an aerosol can. The motorist began following the vehicle and discovered “a little boy sitting in the back seat with his nose pressed against the back seat window looking scared to death.”

The suspect eventually pulled over only to continue huffing in front of her son and the tailing driver. According to incident reports, the driver was able to secure the 6-year-old from his mother’s car just before she fled the scene.

Police charged the mother with DUI and 'the implied consent and neglect of a child.' However after reaching a plea bargain with the prosecution, the neglect charges were dropped. This is not the suspect’s first criminal offense. In fact, she was on probation for a felony drug charge at the time of the incident.

Cemetery 'Huffer' On The Loose

From The Record Eagle in Michigan

Police in Traverse City are on the look-out for a man who violently assaulted a cemetery grounds manager after being discovered inhaling what appeared to be glue on the premise. When the manager directed the intruder to leave the cemetery the suspect attacked him from behind, “repeatedly punching and kicking him, before running off.”

Strangely the suspect was sighted again two hours later when he “jumped into a woman’s car and asked for a ride home.” However, when the woman refused he ran off again. Police have collected several empty containers of glue from around the cemetery, suggesting the suspect’s antics were related to ‘huffing.’ The cemetery manager suffered from minor facial injuries including several bruises and a chin laceration.

Former UCF Student Sentenced

From The Central Florida Future in Florida

A former University of Central Florida student will spend 18 months in prison in connection to an October 2006 car crash that left another UCF student dead. Malcolm Barnes pled “no contest in a Florida court November 20th for DUI and manslaughter charges.”

Accident reports reveal Barnes was under the influence of inhalants when he drove into oncoming traffic, struck a motorcycle head on, and killed the driver near the UCF campus. Barnes was apparently so high that he was unaware he had hit another vehicle, and dragged the motorcyclist 300 feet before stopping.

Deputies discovered two cans of computer duster and a rag while searching Barnes’ vehicle. Blood tests also confirmed he had been ‘huffing.’

While the minimal prison sentence for a typical DUI manslaughter case is nine years, Barnes was given a lighter sentence due to his “true remorse” for his actions. He extended an apology to family members and friends of the victim stating, “I am ashamed and deeply sorry to be involved so negatively in your lives…you did not deserve this nightmare.”

In addition to serving 18 months in jail, he will also face two years of probation requiring him to spend 150 hours speaking to area youth about the dangers of ‘huffing’ and driving while intoxicated. His driver’s license has been revoked indefinitely.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nitrous Oxide Found at Murder Scene

From Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska

Officers say substance abuse may have played a role in the deaths of two Alaskan residents earlier this month. A 38-year-old male was fatally shot by a State Trooper after he aggressively lunged toward an officer with a knife. Police were dispatched to the man's residence following a 911 call made from within the home. According to reports, officers discovered the fatally stabbed body of a 66-year-old woman inside the home, identified as the man’s mother. Police believe inhalants were a factor in the brutal murder of the 66-year-old, as officers discovered thousands of small nitrous oxide canisters scattered throughout the home. The investigation is ongoing.

Notorious Paint Huffer in Recovery

From The Wheeling News-Register in West Virginia

Prolific paint huffer Patrick Tribett is speaking out about his battle with inhalant abuse and publically addressing his past drug use, legal troubles, and infamous mug shot. The 45-year-old West Virginia native is known for his string of ‘huffing’ related arrests over the past decade- many yielding photos of his lower face covered in gold paint. Tribett, who has been arrested and jailed for inhalant related incidents since 1998 (and as recent as October 2009) is now enrolled in a drug treatment program with the aim of getting healthy and sober.

Tribbet was first introduced to inhalants when he was 16 or 17 and continued ‘huffing’ as a means of “escaping” from reality. He says his addiction to inhalants developed despite coming from a “normal and good family.” Tribett was even set to receive a college degree from Concord University in West Virginia when his addiction resurfaced and landed him in jail. He hopes to one day return to college and earn a bachelors degree.

When asked about his plans for the future, Tribbet remained optimistic, revealing he would “like to get straight…have a job and a little apartment.” With the help of a Wheeling, West Virginia recovery center Tribett has maintained his sobriety for 8 weeks and shows no sign of slowing down.

Tribett has also hired a lawyer to prepare a legal assault against several companies who have been profiting from the use of his paint covered face. It has been reported that his mug shot was featured on a billboard in Europe.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Driver Pleads Guilty in Berry-Pickers Death

From The Grand Island Independent in Nebraska

The 24-year-old driver responsible for striking and killing an 83-year-old woman in June has rendered his guilt on charges of vehicular homicide. The driver who had been ‘huffing’ computer duster behind the wheel, allegedly blacked out- prompting his pick-up truck to veer off the roadway and fatally hit an elderly woman who was picking berries in her back yard.

In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to reduce the criminal charges from a Class II felony (accompanied by a maximum penalty of 50 years in jail) to a Class III felony (carrying a 20 year maximum sentence). The 24-year-old Grand Island driver is scheduled to appear in court January 14th, 2010 for sentencing.

Man Frantically Calls 911

From The Express-Star in Oklahoma

Police in Grady County, Oklahoma received several frantic 911 calls from a man residing in “a dilapidated” home earlier this month who expressed concerns he was suffering from a heart attack. The caller, identified as resident “Scooter” Pitts, was apparently “high from sniffing paint and in a bout of paranoia” when he contacted 911.

Police arrived to the residence with Pitts’ brother who informed officers of Pitts past history of sniffing paint and ramped mental problems. Officers removed Pitts from the home after discovering he had an outstanding city warrant. Police noted the disheveled state of the residence and its lack of functioning electricity and water.

Tucson Restricts Access to Whippets

From Arizona Daily Star in Arizona

Last week the Tucson City Council made great strides in reducing the number of local teens and tweens who have access to buying whippets- tiny canisters of nitrous oxide gas commonly used for the purpose of getting high. The city unanimously passed a city-wide ordinance that requires all businesses to “keep nitrous oxide cartridges behind store counters and check for proper identification to ensure the buyer is at least 18 years old.”

Tucson police officers are in full support of the new legislation, viewing it as a preventative measure necessary to keep whippets out of the hands of minors. City officials were first informed of the issue by a local resident who started noticing an abundance of “shiny metal cartridges” along neighborhood streets, and began collecting them in large quantities to present to city council members. While the ordinance has been approved, it is now up to the city of Tucson and local law enforcement officers to reinforce and sustain the ordinance’s mandates and restrictions.

For more information regarding whippets and the harmful effects of nitrous oxide click here to view ACE's whippet FAQ.

Jankins Heads to Prison For Fatal Crash

From Philly.com in Pennsylvania

Rachael Jankins, 20, was sentenced to four-and-a-half to 10 years in prison for her involvement in the August 14th crash outside Delaware County Memorial Hospital that killed 19-year-old Nicole Gallo and seriously injured 20-year-old Christine Bochanski. Jankins initially told police she was distracted by her iPod when she lost control of her vehicle and struck both women. However, police have ruled that Jankins was ‘huffing’ computer duster prior to the accident, as her blood tested positive for difluoroethane- a chemical concentrated in keyboard cleaning spray.

Jankins pled guilty to charges of vehicular homicide, driving under the influence, and aggravated assault yesterday. In addition to her prison sentence, Jankins will serve 6 years probation and be expected to pay over $18,000 in restitution.