Monday, March 29, 2010

Teen Arrested for Shoplifting, Inhalant

From Cumberland County News (March 26):

Last week, Bridgeton police arrested a 17-year old for shoplifting. The teen added to his offenses when it was discovered he had taken a can of computer duster. He was charged and released to a guardian.

Parents Stop Inhalant Abuse Before It Starts

From the Sun Telegraph (March 27):

On Saturday, Nebraska parents gathered to learn more about inhalant abuse in their community. Students Making Awesome Choices, a community-based collaborative, received an unexpected turnout from members of the community who were sensitive to and interested in the issue. In this community, inhalant abuse isn't an epidemic and parents plan to keep it that way.

“There have been some isolated incidents with inhaling. Nothing specifically inside the school. It happens at home and gets drug into the the school” one official says.

Eerily, most inhalants are household products. There are more than 1,400 products people can inhale to get high which explains why children as young as 10-years old are using. These cheap, accessible products are typically missed when parents discuss drug use with their children. However, 22 % of inhalant deaths happen on the first use.

Are interested in educating your community about inhalant use? Visit inhalant.org to request a media kit and access more information. If you are already doing something in your community, let us know, too!

BSAS Conference Alert!

Have you wanted to learn more about preventing inhalant use but lacked the opportunity? On Wednesday May 5, 2010, "You Can Make a Difference: Preventing & Treating Inhalant Abuse" will answer this and many other questions. Focused on proactive responses, the event welcomes everyone from health services professionals to school teachers
to learn how to identify likely users, resources, and intervention approaches.

The event, hosted at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, is sponsored the Massachusetts Bureau for Substance Abuse Services. Interested parties must register prior to the April 30 deadline. You can find more information and register here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Middle School: Using Scrunchies To Get High

From the Watertown Daily Times (March 25):

A Jefferson County organization claims middle school students are wearing scrunchies soaked in paint thinner and other chemicals to get quick highs during class. While there are no statistics on its prevalence, the organization believes the practice is on the rise.

What would you do if someone you knew was using inhalants?

Attacked for Promoting Inhalant Use

From the Westerville News and Public Opinion (March 24):

A 17-year old male was attacked on Tuesday after someone told him he forgot belongs at school. However, the attackers had not selected him at random. His assailants, three minors and an adult, claim the male was teaching younger students how to get high using aerosol cans. The ambush appeared to have occurred on school property but outside of school hours.

The adult suspect claimed he wanted to protect his younger brother, who is mentally handicapped, from being exposed to the male's behavior. Police noted facial swelling, bruising and cuts resulting from the altercation. All four attackers were charged.

Waiting To Inhale: Teen Crash Sends Six To Hospital

From the Columbus Dispatch (March 24):

A "severely impaired" 18-year old was hospitalized Tuesday after his vehicle, which was carrying six passengers, crashed. Police, responding to the second such scene this week, found an aerosol can in the front seat. When confronted, officers also noted the driver had bloodshot eyes, dizziness, and slurred speech.

The crash is yet another example of a huffing while driving which is being reported more frequently around the country. "In the old days, you'd typically get to a crash and you'd smell the alcohol," one officer said.

However, an executive at a local treatment center acknowledges the nagging reality: "The attraction of inhalants are that they are readily available, they are legal and, frankly, they can be hidden in plain sight," he admits.

Trucker-Turned-Politician Barred Due To Record

From the Decatur Daily (March 24):

A Georgia newspaper reported an unusual loophole that may make a man eligible as a third party incumbent. After unsuccessfully trying to run as a Republican and Democrat candidate, the 47-year old elected to campaign as a write-in candidate after he voiced concerns about not receiving enough signatures before the March 31 deadline.

What's more interesting is the reason he was not invited as a Republican candidate: his criminal record. The man, who is also a truck driver, was charged with possession of a volatile substance in 2003. When confronted the man claimed the duster was intended to clean his tape deck. The officer disagreed, noting the container contained an inhalant.

Nevada: Joining Together To Fight Inhalants

From Join Together Northern Nevada (March 22):

Have you ever wondered what other organizations are talking about inhalant use? A group in Northern Nevada has responded with a resounding "We are!" With a focus on building partnerships in the community, JTTN is raising awareness about inhalant use.

Their blog tackles the fundamental questions of who, what and the ever-present why. The Reno-based group cites an example of public awareness about glue sniffing from 1964! Check out their post and check back here to have your say.

Do you think inhalant use is still a problem?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Middle School Students Fall Ill After High

From the Daily Pilot (March 19):

Four middle school students at a California school were taken to the hospital late last week after ingesting ecstacy. The students, who were all girls, combined the pills with hits from an aerosol product and fell ill soon thereafter.

One girl faded in and out of consciousness during her visit to the nurse. In response, the nurse called paramedics. The eighth graders, ranging from 12-14, were all taken as a precaution after school officials caught wind of their activity.

Town Shows Success In Fighting Substance Abuse

From the Somerville News (March 19):

After years of hard work, local officials in Massachusetts are seeing the silver lining. Through a program established in 2002, authorities created a series of initiatives to monitor attitudes and compliance with laws pertaining to teenage substance abuse. The program shows promising results as there are significant decreases alcohol, marijuana, and inhalant use.

One measurement of success, the risky behavior survey, focuses on the frequency of consumption among youth. According to the survey, inhalant use has decreased nearly 50% since the 2003.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Does Information Encourage Substance Abuse?

From the Huffington Post:

Does increasing public awareness about inhalant abuse create more users? An article posted this morning presents this question. Specifically, the author cites campaigns in the 1950s and 1960s preceded a rise in inhalant abuse.

On anti-drug campaigns against prescription drugs:

"The same phenomenon was seen again in the late 1990's with the drug Oxycontin. News accounts about a "deadly new high" appeared first--followed by jumps in use and deaths."
The combination of a potentially deadly high and children will probably always be catnip for the media. But, in the case of inhalants, they never seem to ask why inhalants are the only drugs whose popularity declines as preteens become teenagers and young adults."

The alternative:

"Rather than "raising awareness" of the deadly nature of inhalants, we should instead raise awareness of the lousy high involved, perhaps failing to characterize it as a high at all. Inhalants basically produce the experience of brain damage-- not a specific, pharmacological result."

As always, we encourage you to leave comments here or share your opinions on the message board. What do you think?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week: Dr. Jennifer Caudle


Dr. Jennifer Caudle is an osteopathic family physician and director of the family medicine section of the Department of Internal Medicine at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. She has appeared on ABC News, written healthy advice articles and led workshops nationally. Her message of wellness has reached over 50,000 people and she can be found at http://www.jennifercaudle.com/.

ACE: Why is National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week important?

Dr. Caudle: This week is so important to recognize because we are learning just how common inhalant abuse is among young people. According to data from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUHs), 6.9% of 12 year olds have used an inhalant to get high. Interestingly, this makes inhalant abuse more common than the use of cigarettes, marijuana, cocaine and other drugs. This truly is a problem that needs to be addressed.

ACE: What role does the medical community have in increasing awareness about inhalants?

Dr. Caudle: It is important for the medical community to understand how common this problem is. Becoming educated is only part of the answer however, as we must also get involved in educating patients and parents about this problem. It is important to ask our patients about inhalant abuse just as we ask about other illicit drugs, alcohol and tobacco, and we need to become aware of the signs and symptoms of inhalant abuse.

ACE: What advice would you give to parents about protecting children from misusing household products?

Dr. Caudle: One of the most important things a parent can do is to talk with their children about their behavior and listen; an open dialogue is extremely important. It is also important to keep in mind that inhalants are often commonly found items found in the home; from hairspray to computer cleaners and paint thinners, inhalants are often easily obtained and inexpensive as well.

ACE: How can parents identify inhalant abuse?

Dr. Caudle: There are a wide range of symptoms that can appear with inhalant abuse. Some people will exhibit a change in mood, personality or behavior. Others may have changes in speech or movement. It is important to be aware of any unusual chemical smells on clothing which could signal chemical use. In addition, the effects of inhalant abuse can range from eye and nose irritation, nosebleeds and watery eyes, to heart, liver and kidney damage.

ACE: Where can someone find medical resources for treatment?

Dr. Caudle: I would start with the NIPC- National Inhalant Prevention Coalition at http://www.inhalants.org/ and SAMHSA- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services at http://oas.samhsa.gov/.

In addition to the resources listed above, you can find more information about inhalant abuse at http://www.inhalant.org/. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

Man Damages Property While High

From The Orange County Register (March 9):

A man previously removed from a his girlfriend's property, returned the next day to exact a second dose of violence. The 43-year old mover was arrested after he kicked down his girlfriend's door and damaging her home. He then fled the premises only to be tracked down following a helicopter search. It is believed the man was on a high derived from a known habit of huffing compressed air.

A Best Friend Left To Mourn Alone

From The Picket (March 9):

Some people may think inhalant abuse is a victimless habit however this harrowing account will make the issue deeply personal. The writer tells of three classmates who lost their lives much earlier than any parent would ever dare plan. From the unoccupied seat in class to pondering of why and how, the writer intimates the three stories of loss. The latter account details the untimely passing of the writer's best friend who died from Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome, a chemical-induce cardiac arrest, at age 21.

As we celebrate NIPAW, this is a sad reminder that more needs to be done. According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network Medical Examiner, there were 500 inhalant-related deaths between 1996-1999.

Man Arrested Five Times For Inhalant Abuse

From The Muncie Star Press:

An Indiana man was recently arrested for "glue sniffing". Under Indiana's anti-inhalant statute, the inhalation of any substance is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail. However, it is not the State's statutory awareness that makes this case unusual.

The man in question has been arrested five times for the same offense. Since 2000, the man's affinity to carburetor cleaner, which contains the intoxicant toluene, have resulted in the arrests. Ostensibly, an arrest last November happened after the man pushed down his then-girlfriend when confronted him about the habit.

The 30-year old is now awaiting his Monday hearing and ensuing trial in June.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

NJ Man Arrested While Huffing on Sidewalk

From the Jersey Journal, NJ.Com:

A 21 year-old man was arrested this weekend after he was caught him huffing from an aerosol can.

Police noticed the man sitting on the sidewalk when he ‘”put a can up to his mouth and inhaled deeply.” While searching him they found a can off “Blow Off” computer dusting spray.

For more information on the effects of huffing computer duster, please visit our duster FAQ sheet here:

Iowa County Looks to Ban Huffing

From the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier in Iowa:

Tama County, Iowa is considering a ban on huffing. While not yet considered a “major problem in the county” the local sheriff noted that huffing is “increasing in prominence.”

The city of Tama previously banned huffing after concerns that individuals were not getting help for huffing – they were merely being re-arrested. The proposal is modeled on the open container laws and gives police authority to arrest a person “if they suspect the individual has been huffing.”

Monday, March 15, 2010

Man Crashes Into Hotel

From WWAY-TV (March 12) in North Carolina:

Police arrested a man Friday after he drove his vehicle into a local hotel. Although he was not drunk, police identified signs of inhalant abuse and the man admitted he huffed from two aerosol cans prior to the crash. The man was treated for minor wounds and released to his parents.

Man Arrested for Arson

From the Willits News (March 12) in California:

A man detained for suspected arson may have problems other than an affinity for fire. According to police, the suspect has a substance abuse record that spans 14 years with 45 court cases pending. In October 2009, he was found asleep at another arson scene. This time police arrested him on suspicion of arson, probation violation and inhalation of a toluene substance.

The latter points to his dangerous habit of huffing paint thinner. When police found the 40-year old, he could not speak. He had passed out from inhaling gasoline fumes as suggested by the gas cup in his vehicle.

Woman Arrested For Huffing Outside Convenience Store

From Channel 2 News Online (March 8):

A Florida woman was arrested for violating parole after she was found outside of a store asleep and covered in vomit. When she awoke, she proceeded to inhale the can's contents as police questioned her. After admitting she purchased the can to get high, police searched her to find another can concealed in her purse. The woman was detained and now faces an inhalation of harmful chemical substances charge.

"Driving While Huffing" Incidents on the Rise

From the Dothan Eagle (March 9):

Alabama police have noticed a dangerous trend in DUI incidents with impairment increasingly attributed to inhalant use. Citing several examples, police indicated approximately 70 percent of driver-impaired accidents are alcohol related. However the remaining 30 percent result from misused prescription drugs and inhalants.

National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week

Today, marks the second day of National Inhalants and Prevention Awareness Week! This annual event presents organizations, school administrators and parents with a unique opportunity to educate communities about inhalants. Throughout the week, we will feature insight from a panel of experts who are increasing awareness around this silent habit. This year is particularly noteworthy as recent studies suggest a reversal in previously declining drug trends.

According a study conducted by the Partnership for a Drug Free America:

· One in ten teens surveyed had misused inhalants within the past year.

· Teen attitudes about inhalant use have also changed. 66 percent of students, compared to 70 percent last year, believe inhalant use can result in death.


According the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, 12-year olds are more likely to use inhalants than any other drugs except alcohol. Currently, more 12-year olds use inhalants than marijuana, cocaine, and hallucinogens (i.e. ecstasy) combined.

If you believe your child or loved one is misusing inhalants, use the SAMHSA service provider locator to find help in your area. Also visit http://www.inhalant.org/ to find more resources about inhalant abuse, detection, and effects.

Concerned Citizens Gather To Talk About Inhalant Abuse

From the Port Clinton News Herald (March 8):

A local awareness group is showing parents how to spot inhalant abuse before it is too late. Members of the action group organized an event called "Hidden in Plain Sight" to highlight seemingly innocuous items that can facilitate inhalant use.

The group recognized most parents are distanced from the peers and exposure their children are exposed to daily. One member said, "We hope that this is the first step of a process to look at the world our kids live in. We don't know everything we need to know."

The event showed parents ways to spot inhalant use such as empty aerosol cans, mood swings, misplaced markers and unusual smells on a child's breath or clothing. "I find it amazing how they can hide things," a parent said, "If you're not up on it, you wouldn't think about these things."

Teens Seek High, End Up With Loathsome Effects

From the New York Daily News (March 11):

Data released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA, indicates teenage inhalant use is on the rise- again. Following a earlier study circulated by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America showing a reversal in a downward 10 year trend in drug use, there are a clear indicators that teenage drug use will spike in coming years. Researchers point to decreased inhibitions about drug use as the primary cause.

Surprisingly, teens are moving away from traditional illicit drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine. Instead, they are developing a proclivity for inhalants which provide a cheap high- and are accessible underneath a kitchen sink. The strongest evidence shows this trend indicates more 12-year olds are using inhalants than cocaine, marijuana, and hallucinogens combined.

While the high is cheap it does not come without a price. “You have young people developing dementia, having hallucinations, walking into things,” a health and wellness university professor says, “not to mention feelings of agitation and anxiety and poor judgment."

Friday, March 12, 2010

National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week Press Conference

To launch National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week, the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition, with support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), held a press conference to focus on inhalant use and efforts by the medical profession to educate physicians. The widely-attended event brought together media, federal agencies, and those personally affected to bring attention this important issue.

Pamela Hyde, SAMHSA Administrator, spoke poignantly about the recent upticks in drug use as a recent study showed a regression in adolescent attitudes about drug use. This trend, which is a harbinger of future drug use, is magnified when discussing inhalant abuse because many teens don’t think it is a ‘real’ drug. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, attitudes about drug abuse were have tumbled to 58% from 75% in earlier surveys.

Ms. Hyde noted that inhalant accessibility and ignorance about side effects contribute to the problem. Among 12-year olds nationwide inhalants are the drug of choice. Currently, alcohol is the only substance with higher user rates than inhalants.

Dr. Jennifer Caudle, of the American Osteopathic Association, intimated inhalant abuse is affecting the medical community as medical professionals have access to commonly abused gases, such as nitrous oxide. Additionally, there is little formal training about recognizing inhalant abuse allowing cases to go undiagnosed. In response, Dr. Caudle and the AOA are helping to create a support system and dialogue among medical practitioners to illuminate that areas need improvement.

The last two speakers shared personal accounts of how inhalant abuse affected their lives. Ashley, 17, and Kevin, a parent who lost his daughter to inhalants, offered poignant and intertwined reflections. The two are now learning how to live new lives of recovery and loss respectively.

We would especially like to thank Harvey Weiss, Executive Director of NIPC for organizing this annual event as it is emblematic of his steadfast efforts to combat inhalant abuse.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Man Damages Home In Attempt To Get High

From the Erie Times-News:

For every action there is a reaction. Newton discovered this truth centuries ago but a recently charged man learned the hard way. The Pennsylvania man, who was charged with risking a catastrophe, virtually destroyed his residence in an attempt to get high.

The 25-year old was badly burned in the blast which propelled gas 90 feet from the foundation and compromised it in the process. The man passed out after using a 20-pound propane tank to get high. With the valve open, gas filled the house and, eventually, found an open flame yielding unimaginable damage.

If convicted the accused could face as many as 2 years in prison while continuing to fight his addiction.

The Effects of Huffing (Video)

Recently, we discovered a spirited, entrepreneurial effort while trolling YouTube. The proactive student project employs accurate statistics and a good dose of humor to create a skit that shows how easily some children can acquire inhalants. Nearly 4,000 people already viewed the viewed!

Let us know what you think:

Man Found Unconscious In Apartment

From ABC News 27:

A Pennsylvania was found unconscious in his apartment after he went missing for a week. Police visited the man's house only to be greeted by fumes so dense they could be smelled from the hallway. Upon entering the apartment, police noted there were several open cans of paint thinner which the man had huffed.

This is not the first visit to the man's house. Police have responded to similar calls the residence prior to finding the man "severely intoxicated" at the scene of the most recent incident. As a result, he was charged with the illegal use of solvents.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Study: Reverse In Teen Drug Use Attitudes

From the Partnership for a Drug Free America:


A study released earlier this week shows significant increases in adolescent drug use. Data gathered between 1998 and 2008, showed upticks in usage and attitudes among 9-12 graders who responded to the Partnership Attitude Tracking Study.


Only two thirds of teens indicated that inhalant abuse can kill. The 4% retreat for the previous year hints at a potential increase in the now-steady 10% usage rate among teens.


Researches also noted a disturbing shift in attitudes toward drug use as teens have relaxed their inhibitions. Specifically, 51% of teens surveyed in 2009 answered the statement "being high feels good" in the affirmative which is a 6% jump from the previous year. This, the report suggests, coupled with decrease funding for substance abuse programs and parental inaction have resulted in a decade-long reverse in drug use attitudes. Nearly 33% of parents indicated their teen's drug use is beyond experimental but are paralyzed by shame and fear.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week

March 14th-20th, 2010 marks National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week (NIPAW). Every year, this week represents an opportunity to educate people about the dangers of inhalant abuse while supporting those who have been affected. Countless people are unaware of the dangers and fatalities associated with abusing household items for the purposes of “getting high”.

In a national survey, 22.3 million Americans claimed to have used inhalants at least once[1]. This year is particularly significant as studies show inhalant abuse is on the rise. According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, one in five minors have abused inhalants prior to reaching 8th grade[2]! Often the trend continues silently because parents and relatives are unfamiliar with the symptoms that signal abuse.

Short term inhalant abuse can result in dizziness, loss of consciousness, severe mood swings, and headaches. Prolonged use can cause liver and kidney malfunctioning, loss of hearing, and irreparable central nervous system damage. Some people even die from a cardiac seizure, known as Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome, which can occur on the 1st or 100th misuse. For more information on effects of inhalant abuse, please click here.

What can you do?

During NIPAW, start a conversation at work or talk to a friend about inhalant abuse. In this week many communities around the nation hold special programs or write articles to raise awareness about inhalant abuse prevention. If you are planning an event, please contact me as we can add it to our blog and/or our community message board.

You can make a difference in your community and potentially save a life by educating yourself about this pressing issue! Please visit http://www.inhalant.org/ to check out our electronic Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit and for more information on the issue.


Sources:[1] http://www.drugabuse.gov/researchreports/inhalants/inhalants.html
[2] Inhalants - Special Report, Partnership for a Drug-Free America™, 2006

Inhalant Use In Prisons Down Under

From the Star News Group:

Authorities at an Australian prison noted a staggering prevalence of drug use among prisoners. The Australian Institute of Criminology reported an alarming 48 % are addicted to heroin and 41% to marijuana. However, the 2007-2009 report showed a surprising twofold increase. In 2008, 12% of surveyed prisoners admitted to using inhalants compared to 6% the year before.

Huffing While Driving

From Fox 13 News:

Utah police are monitoring an increase in a phenomenon known as huffing while driving whereby drivers huff inhalants whilst operating a vehicle. Police say the effects are similar to being drunk and, like alcohol, the effect can wear off quickly. The burgeoning practice has been reported in several parts of the United States as it gained popularity during the last two years. In one Utah town alone police reported at least six incidents over the past year.

However this trend is indicative of habits teens embraced before they got behind the wheel. Surveys conducted in Utah secondary schools found that 6 % of 6th graders and 9% of 8th graders had abused inhalants. This supports a national statistic which indicates inhalant usage amongst one in five middle school students.

A local health official believes a lack of awareness is largely to blame. He says, "We think to talk to our kids about alcohol use, we think to talk to them about marijuana, maybe other substances, but a lot of times we don't think to talk to them about inhalants."

Monday, March 1, 2010

Arrested Man Was Abusing Inhalants

From the Freemont Tribute in Nebraska:

On Friday night, police officers arrested a man after receiving a phone call from a woman at his residence. The woman, whom he threatened to burn with a blowtorch, said the man was abusing inhalants and alcohol which may have sparked the incident.

The man is being held for several charges with his bond set at $3,000.