Friday, April 30, 2010

Woman Huffing, Crashes Car

From the Bremerton Patriot (April 29)

Police arrested a Washington woman who crashed into a parked car, fled the accident, and was driving with a suspended license. Her cause for worry was compounded she admitted to police that she was huffing behind the wheel. Upon searching the vehicle, other cans were found in the woman's car.

People familiar with the arrest say she may have mixed the inhalant with another drug for a stronger effect. The woman said she could only recount running into a wall but was unaware hit a car as well. She also declined a breath test and blood sample.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Georgia Man Arrested For Huffing

From the Augusta Chronicle (April 27):

A trip the store resulted in an arrest for a 19-year old Georgia man. The man passed out after huffing from an aerosol can and alert patrons roused him. Covered in vomit, the man fled only to be apprehended by a deputy along a local road. The teenager later admitted to huffing but claimed he wanted "to make his voice sound squeaky".

Friday, April 23, 2010

Arizona Study Looks At Huffing Among Local Teens

This week another study examines teenage inhalant abuse, this time in the barrio, a Spanish word meaning neighborhood. Researchers observe huffing habits of over three dozen youth against a control group in Phoenix, Arizona. The study yielded the following findings:
  • Inhalant users had a history of multiple stressors, evidenced academic difficulties and the criminal justice system
  • They began using drugs between the ages of 10 and 15
  • They confined their drug use primarily to marijuana, alcohol, and inhalants
  • The teens often came from families with drug problems
  • Inhalant abusers experienced more poverty and family disruption
  • They believed their friends to be favorable to their use of inhalants
  • They were less involved in conventional youth activities

You can view the complete abstract and purchase the study here.

Teens Arrested After Huffing In Park

From The News-Record (April 21):

In many towns, teens hang out in parking lots, tip cows, or skateboard illegally. Three Wyoming girls decided to buck the these age-old traditions in favor of huffing. What is more all three girls videotaped themselves abusing inhalants near a local lake.

Upon learning of the incident, police apprehended and charged the 18-year old driver on suspicion of driving under the influence. Her accomplices, 14- and 16-years young, were reprimanded with huffing violations.

Man Shot, History of Huffing

From WOAI:

San Antonio police shot an unarmed man outside a gas station whose criminal stretches back 15 years. Witnesses say the man, believed to have been drunk at the time of the encounter, was threatening patrons with what appeared to be a gun. The 32-year old's disruptive behavior caught the eye of an undercover police officer who then approached the incident.

When police approached, the man reached the dark purple water pistol he used to intimidate the station patrons. Unaware the gun was fake police fired shots and subsequently detained the man. Most of the man's arrests were related to inhalant abuse.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Inhalant Abuse Study Yields New Data

A study released Monday shows several trends in inhalant abuse over a 15-year period. Using National Poison Data System data from 60 U.S. poison centers, the journal Pediatrics published the"Inhalant Abuse: Monitoring Trends by Using Poison Control Data, 1993-2008" examines 35, 453 inhalant abuse cases reported from 1993 to 2008. Of these cases, people reported over 3,400 different products that were then divided into 200 individual categories.

The data indicates the following:

Age/Gender


  • Among 12-17-year olds users, 14-years old was the year of peak use
  • Male users accounted for 73.5% of cases reported
  • Propellants were abused more among 12-17 age group
  • 6-11 year olds more commonly abused gasoline
  • Propellant use doubled between 2002 and 2007 among the 12-17 age range, up from 7.6 %to 14.6%
  • Teenage use dropped one third
  • Lifetime use among teens was between 10%-15%

Products misused most often

  • Alcohol (23%), marijuana (12.8%) were most commonly mixed with inhalants
  • 1993: paint was most reported; 2008: propellants (i.e. duster)
  • Propellants, gasoline, and paint accounted for 39% of cases reported

Trends

  • Propellant reporting increased threefold between 2003 and 2008. Duster accounted for 58% of these cases.
  • 67.8% of reports were managed in health care facilities
  • Butane (58.1%), propane (25.9%), air fresheners (21.8%) abuse had the highest fatality rates
  • 2003 reported the lowest number of cases, down 54% from 1993
  • UT, NM, WY, SD and WV reported the most cases
  • Reporting remained steady after 2003

You can view the abstract here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Chicago Tribune: Huffing Death Leaves A Town In Mourning

From the Chicago Tribune (April 18):

On Friday, two parents made what was probably the most difficult decision of their lives. They decided to remove their son from life support on the advice of doctors who said his brain was too far gone.

A week earlier, their affable high school senior looked forward to taking his first automotive classes at local community college in the fall. He planned to follow the family's professional lineage of mechanics and build a future for himself. However the dream was cut short when on April 12 he huffed a chemical cocktail of propane causing a fatal seizure.

That evening, the 18 year old young man rode with his friends for the last time. When first responders arrived, his heart had not beaten for ten minutes leaving his brain severely damaged.

Months earlier his parents discovered their son was smoking marijuana and sought counseling. He attended his requisite meetings and, because most chemicals in inhalants are not tested for, passed all the drug tests. However his mother noticed her child was losing weight after his release. When asked, he replied "I'm fine. I'm fine" a response that echoes hauntingly in his passing.

Between Friday and Sunday 1,100 peers showed their support and supported one another through a Facebook memorial group. Now, his father is left with a 1987 Trans Am, their father-son project.

"I want parents and kids to know," his father said. "People don't need to die this way."

If you know or suspect someone is addicted to inhalants visit http://www.inhalant.org/ or dasis3.samhsa.gov to get help. Your simple steps could save a life.

Huffing Explosion Suspect Sentenced

From Go Eerie News (April 17):

On March 8, we reported that a Pennsylvania man caused an explosion at his residence after passing out while inhaling propane fumes.

His attorney suggested his addiction led to the accident and, as a result, the man should not be held accountable. The man later plead guilt to a misdemeanor charge. He was sentenced to a maximum three months in prison.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Teen Caught Huffing As Mom Shops

From Action3 News in Nebraska:

Many busy Americans reserve the weekend for clothing and grocery shopping. However, reports suggest an Omaha 14-year old was doing a little shopping of his own. His mother left him in the car while she went to pick up some groceries, leaving the young alone for a matter of minutes. Meanwhile, he pulled out a can of duster and began inhaling.

He was discovered later and transported the hospital. It is believed he did not suffer any life-threatening damage. Police cited the minor for inducing intoxication by medical use, misdemeanor.

Hopefully, the teen has learned his lesson for good because the situation could have turned out different. "A risk of brain damage with repeated use, you're losing brain cells but probably the biggest risk is sudden death and that does happen." one doctor says.

Statistically, 22% of inhalant-related deaths are attributed to Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome, a chemically-induced cardiac arrest. This can happen the first time a person abuses inhalants.

Illinois Ups The Ante on Inhalant Abuse

From The Pantagraph (April 14):

On Wednesday, Illinois legislatures unanimously supported a modified ban on inhalant use. If ratified by the state Senate, the bill will stiffen penalties against repeat offenders with second-timers facing up to one year in prison.

The bill now garners government attention but started as a local effort. Illinois law enforcement campaigned for the legislation, House Bill 3869, after charging and arresting the same people for misusing the household products.

Still, state representatives also see value in strengthening substance abuse penalties:

"It's terribly destructive," said one senator. "People get into them [inhalants] thinking they'll feel better about life but they are really destroying life."

Man Hospitalized For Huffing

From the Lake County Banner (April 14):

On Wednesday, Tennessee police discovered a semi-conscious man near a National Guard amory building. Officers approached the 43-year old as he lie in his vehicle. When asked how we was doing, the man sprayed computer duster directly into his mouth. The officers promptly requested medical assistance and the unresponsive man was taken to the hospital.

Officers found four more computer duster cans in his car. He was summarily charged with public intoxication and released.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

WI Woman Sentenced On Inhalant Charges

From WEAU 13 News (April 13):

A Wisconsin woman arrested twice on inhalant-related charges was sentenced earlier this week. The first time police discovered the woman she had rolled her vehicle into a highway ditch. According the officers, the woman lost control when she was huffing computer duster behind the wheel.

Last August, one month later, police arrested the 43-year old after she was found with duster cans at a local hotel. She will now faces an 8-month stretch in jail.

California Students Participate in Voluntary Drug Testing Program

From Glendale News Press (April 14) :

Two California high schools have started a pilot drug testing program after concerns over their students extracurricular activities. The program, which is voluntary, has attracted nearly 500 participants in grades 9-12 of 2,946 notices sent to parents. School officials say students who test positive for controlled substances will not be penalized but hinted the results will inform how administrators respond.

If successful, the program may be rolled out districtwide, “The numbers that we’ve seen at [two high schools] in drugs and alcohol hasn’t been that alarming for us to do that yet, but it doesn’t mean we can’t do it districtwide. I’m open to it,” school board Vice President said.

Announced in December, nearly 50%, or 1,444, letters were returned to the high schools with 473 students deciding to participate. The schools initiated the pilot program after it was found that 38 suspensions were related to the abuse of controlled substances. In various cases students were discovered abusing inhalants and illicit drugs.


“The school is a microcosm of the community, and we want to make sure we are doing our part to assist the community and eradicating the problem,” the Deputy Superintendent said.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Texas: Woman Sentenced For Huffing While Driving

From Globe-News(April 7):

An Amarillo woman was sentenced to four years in jail after she was found guilty of endangering children. The accused alleged huffed aerosol can fumes while two children were in the back seat of her Chevy Tahoe. Police found a dozen empty hairspray cans in her vehicle.

With evidence and motives apparent, the 25-year old Texan will plead guilty to two counts of child endangerment. The sentence also includes a 120-hour community service mandate and $500 fine.

Her children were not harmed despite their exposure to the aerosol fumes.

Inhalant Abuse & Respiratory Illness

From Health Canal:

A recently released study reveals new dimensions and bucks old assumptions about inhalant use. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) study surveyed a sample group, ages 12 to 17, from 2006-2008. As the new data shows, youth suffering from respiratory ailments were not less likely than their healthy counterparts to abuse inhalants. With nearly one in tens diagnosed as asthmatic, this finding is particularly troubling. Overall, approximately 143,000 minors suffering from asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, or sinusitis used inhalants last year.

The study also found:
  • An unsettling 44,000 adolescents use inhalants on any given day.
  • An estimated 1 million adolescents abuse inhalants every year.
  • 4.4% of adolescents with respiratory problems versus 4.1% without use inhalants.
  • Glue, gasoline, toluene(found in paint thinner), lighter fluid spray paints and shoe polish were among the top inhaled substances.


Past Year Inhalant Use among Adolescents:

  • Aged 12 or 13: 4.1%
  • Aged 14 or 15: 4.7%
  • Aged 16 or 17: 3.5%

To view the findings or download the study, visit the SAMHSA website

Good Morning America: Huffing

From Good Morning America:

With National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week(NIPAW) here and gone , media outlets are still drawing attention to inhalant abuse. This increased consciousness around the issue has brought to light accounts by former users about their journey back to sobriety and admonition against taking a road trodden many teens.

This morning ABC news show Good Morning America underscored the gravity of inhalant abuse in a segment which showed an athlete's fall from grace. The young man, now 16, began huffing duster while at friend's house in middle school. His first huffing experience dragged him into a vicious 4-year long downward spiral. He became anti-social, performed poorly in school and exhibited unpredictably irritable behavior.

"It is such a short high, so you can't pull yourself away from it," he shared.

His parents were unaware until his mother discover her son blacked-out next to a gasoline can. After he fled to the woods, his parent's rushed him to the hospital for treatment. The young man's new substance of choice almost took his life but his parent's action saved him from an almost certain outcome. We are happy to report the young man is now on the path to recovery.

We extend a special thanks to Good Morning America for discussing this difficult, but pervasive issue.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

19 Year-Old Arrested At Home

From The Post-Bulletin in Rochester, Minnesota

Last Friday, after noticing that his 19 year-old son and 16-year daughter were huffing spray paint, a father alerted the local sheriff’s department and asked them for help.

The officer noted that the man’s son “couldn't concentrate on what was being said,” “was talking really fast and short” and he was fidgeting. Deputies wanted to take him into protective custody but he refused. However, once he kicked at the deputies they immediately handcuffed him and took him in while he continually tried to kick and bite them. The man’s daughter was “issued a citation and was left in the home.”

Ohio Huffing Crash Sends 6 to the Hospital

From 10TV.com in Central Ohio:

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating an accident that sent six people to the hospital last week. Passengers told police that the driver was huffing from an aerosol can immediately before the crash.

The police report notes that “five teens and a 22 year-old were hospitalized” and that “four of the people inside the car were ejected.”

Click through to the news station's site for horrifying images of the crash.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Virginia: Huffing Behind The Wheel

From the Daily Press (April 2):

In a rash of similar cases across the country, police arrested a Virginia man who was huffing while driving. Passing motorists became suspicious when the man was unconscious at green light and called the police. Further investigation showed a preexisting condition was not to blame as the man was found with a can of duster in his lap.

The 52-year old man was summarily charged with misdemeanors inhaling drugs and driving under the influence. While police had seen huffing incidents before, this caught them by surprise.
"Duster is a fairly commonly abused substance," an officer said. "But, it's usually used by kids."

Huffing Party Shooter Still A Mystery

From the Whittier Daily News (April 4):

Senior year usually inspires visions of more autonomy and adulthood. However this weekend marked one year since these aspirations were blotted out for a young man and his California family. At an April 3, 2009 birthday party, the 17-year old football player was shot after one of his teammates was robbed at gunpoint earlier.

The victim dreamed of becoming a Navy Seal and proudly serving his country one day. His attacker only wanted one thing: a tank of nitrous oxide. Police say the ensuing altercation resulted in shots fired and a frantic dash to the hospital.

Nitrous oxide, commonly referred to as laughing gas, is an odorless, colorless substance that is abused by people every year. According police, several tanks were passed around the 150-person party that night.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Florida: Inhalants May Have Caused Man's Death

From the Naples News:

Police are investigating a Florida man's death after he was found in his home a few weeks ago. Discovered with an aerosol can at his side, police suspect inhalants dealt may have dealt the final blow. Recently, the man's ex-wife was featured in a local segment on the dangers of inhalants. However, after two 2008 incidents, which resulted in a court date, she and the deceased split up for good in 2009.

His surviving father, 64, says his son was a "great kid" and hopes his life is not marred by mistakes in life. The man's employer said, "He was the kind of guy we relied on daily. He never let us down.”

Minnesota Man Arrained After Huffing Crash

From the Star Tribune:

A Minnesota man was arraigned on Wednesday after an August 4 crash. The group, notably the 19-year old driver, had been huffing at the time of the accident. Between 2 am and 4:30 am, witnesses say the driver abusing duster at a local park. At one point, the teens, comprised of two males and one female, bought more duster. Police who responded to the scene attributed the accident to huffing while driving.

At the 5 am crash officers found #1,1-difluoroethane in the driver's blood. The odorless, colorless chemical is common in refrigerants and was present in the aerosol container used to inhale its contents.

Arrested in Texas on Inhalant Related Warrants

From the Mineral Wells Index in Texas:

Yesterday’s police blotter lists an inhalant related offense. A 30 year old man was picked up on a “warrant to revoke probation for possession or use of an inhalant” and on “a warrant for possession or use of an inhalant.”

Only Kids Huff? Think Again

From the Scripps News:

Inhalant abuse effects an array of people, from users to families. While inhalant addiction is not a victimless crime, it also is not age-specific. Instances of inhalant use spike among minors who have not entered high school but anecdotes and data suggest adults abuse household products. 1 in 5 adolescents has used inhalants by 8th grade. While some kick the habit, there are people who continue into adulthood.

This article looks at several adults whose habit took hold after age 18. There is an engaged couple in their early twenties eventually stopped cold turkey. For them, rock bottom came as they stared drooling into each other's eyes, their bodies plopped adjacent in a sunken couch. Then, there is a 37-year old woman whose arrest we covered in an earlier post. Pointedly, there was a 36 year old woman, also arrested, who never made it to the path of recovery. In short, the faces of inhalant use are many.

Do you know someone who is addicted to inhalants? Visit www.inhalant.org to find out how you can help.

Teens Write Article About Inhalants

From the Pleasant Point Register(April 1):

Teenagers are often berated for their detachment from reality, wandering minds and notable angst. Despite being pinned down by these stereotypes, a group of high school students are engaging the problem of inhalant abuse. Nearly a dozen students collaborated to report about the second most common drug among 12-year olds.

Backed by five teachers, West Virginia teens crafted an insightful article about inhalant abuse in honor of National Inhalants and Poison Awareness Week(NIPAW).

Also, tell us, what are some drug abuse awareness programs in your area?

Substitute Teacher Caught With Inhalants

From the News-Herald:

Police discovered a man and woman inhaling nitrous oxide at 2:30 am but this was not the most curious aspect of their find. The man, who claimed to be a teacher, had stashed 70 cans underneath the front seats.

Baffled, police officers were uncertain if their apparent huffing breached any laws. Consequently, they drove the couple home without a citation. Further inquiry showed that state law lists inhaling with the intent to achieve a high as a 90-day misdemeanor offense.

In fact, the man is a substitute who taught approximately 30 hours after his run-in with police. However the school superintendent indicated the man's services are not needed saying, he “won’t be here anymore.”

Teens' Sunday Drive Turns Ugly

From the Yankton Press (March 29):

Two 16-year olds were hospitalized after their vehicle collided with a bridge Sunday. The resulting damage, over $5,500 worth, was only part of the picture. Respondents suspected the duo suffered from impaired judgement stemming from inhalant use. The South Dakota teens were charged with ingesting an inhalant while the driver was cited for careless driving.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Glue Abuse in Australia

From the Fraser Coast Chronicle in Australia:

A 23 year-old has pleaded guilty to stealing glue from a local supermarket. On March 1 at 4:20 pm he stole a tube of glue and plastic bags from another area of the store. Two hours later he stole two more tubes of glue and additional plastic bags. He was caught on camera in both cases.

Defence barristers note that he has been addicted to inhalants since he was 8 years-old which has resulted in brain damage. Prosecutors note he has a “substantial criminal history and was on parole at the time he committed the stealing offences.” The judge fined the man $800.

Tennessee Man Abusing Inhalants Behind the Wheel

From the Bristol Blotter in Tennessee:

Earlier this month police noticed a man “passed out in the driver’s seat holding a can of dust remover.” When they tried to wake the man, he “put the can to his nose and began to inhale it.” When he finally did come to, he admitted to abusing the computer duster. He was given a misdemeanor citation for inhalants.

Helium Suspected in 19 Year Old's Suicide

From KECI-TV in Missoula, MT

Earlier this month, a body found near Glacier National Park was identified as a 19 year old man reported missing from Illinois last September. Police report that it appears he “committed suicide by huffing helium gas.” Next to his body they found a “helium tank and a train ticket from Chicago to Seattle”.