Apex police are investigating at least two reports of refrigerant stolen from air conditioning units. They believe the thieves used the refrigerant as an inhalant. One person was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
Local hospitals see a few cases of people sickened by refrigerant abuse, though the state does not track these cases.
It is reported that refrigerant abuse is becoming more popular with teens. Damilola Joseph, a pediatric emergency medicine fellow at WakeMed (a local hospital) said, “It’s easy. It’s cheap. Pre-teens and teens don’t have to go out and find expensive chemicals to do this. And they think it’s cool.”
She says, "Don't assume your teenagers or pre-teenagers aren't doing this. These chemicals are everywhere. They're in the household. Please, please, please talk to your teenagers and your pre-teens."