The National Inhalant Prevention Coalition sponsored a press conference on March 15, 2012, to kick off National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week (NIPAW). The event, which was held at the National Press Club, was entitled “Helium is No Laughing Matter; It Can Be Deadly.”
Speakers included Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; David Shurtleff, Ph.D., Acting Deputy Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH; Harvey Weiss, Executive Director of NIPC; and Brian Dyak, President/CEO of Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. The speakers provided observations about the issue of inhalant abuse and the dangers of helium when used as an inhalant. They advocated that more education is necessary for this worldwide problem.
The event closed with Loriann and Justin Earp, the parents of Ashley Long, who died at a party last month after inhaling helium from a tank. Justin offered several poignant remarks about the tragedy of losing a child in this way. Parents, he said, should not have to pick out a coffin for their daughter instead of a prom dress or receive a death certificate instead of an 8th grade diploma. Loriann and Justin are determined to share Ashley’s story to prevent other parents from experiencing the same heartbreak. To find out more, visit ashleyshope.org.
|Harvey Weiss, Executive Director of NIPC|
|Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (seated) and Brian Dyak, President/CEO of Entertainment Industries Council, Inc.|
|Justin Earp, Ashley Long's stepfather|
What Will You Do?
Next week (March 18-24) is National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week, and we want to know what you are doing to raise awareness. How is your community working to prevent deaths like Ashley’s? Let us know! Contact us so we can highlight it on this blog and our community boards.