Friday, November 09, 2007

Boys in killer craze mercy dash!

TWO schoolboys took a potentially lethal cocktail of solvents and alcohol and were rushed to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness at the weekend.
One of the lads, who was found lying unconscious in a Smithton street, was in such a critical condition he was placed on a ventilator.
The incident in the early hours of Saturday morning has sparked fears that a craze which was thought less common amongst teenagers could be on the rise again.
And a city drugs worker said the youngsters were playing "Russian roulette" with their lives. Sniffing and "gas bombing" (blasts of aerosol gases into the mouth) can cause heart failure, suffocation and choking.
However, health professionals and drugs workers have been left even more concerned at the boys' actions as there was evidence they had also been drinking alcohol – creating a potentially deadly double effect.
It is believed the teenagers in the weekend drama, who have not been named but were both 15 years old, were friends had been drinking and also experimenting with the substances which can cause hallucination.
One boy was found by a passer-by lying in Smithton Park in the early hours of Saturday morning. It is believed his friend was found in the same area although he was conscious.
Chief Inspector Donald Henderson said: "In the early hours of November 3, there were a couple of youths who were admitted to Raigmore Hospital having mixed solvents with alcohol. The two cases were connected. One of the boys was found lying in a roadway in Smithton.
"The condition of the boys was serious and one of them was on a ventilator. They have since been discharged.
"It transpires they have taken a substance which is readily available and have been consuming alcohol as well.
"I want to warn people of the dangers of mixing substances with alcohol and the potential danger to their lives."
Whilst Ch Insp Henderson would not confirm whether there was anyone else involved in the incident, he added: "I would regard any person that procures such substances for youngsters as being wilful and reckless in their conduct.
"If it is found that a third party is involved then I will have them prosecuted for wilful or reckless conduct."
Police would not reveal which substances the boys were experimenting with but common solvents abused are easily accessible household items such as glue, cigarette lighter refills, aerosols and cleaning products.
John Glenday, shared care/harm reduction co-ordinator for NHS Highland explained: "Solvent use is particularly hazardous when combined with alcohol, which can seriously increase harmful toxic effects such as dizziness, slurred speech, loss of co-ordination, unconsciousness and coma.
"During 2005 there were 45 deaths associated with solvent abuse in the British Isles. It is important that everyone is aware of these dangers."
Margaret Henderson, training and development officer with Blast drugs project based on the city's Church Street, revealed: "We call experimenting with solvents the loaded gun as you can do it just once and die.
"However, solvents and alcohol are both depressants. By taking them at the same time, your body is getting a double dose of a depressant which is effectively closing your body down."
She added: "This is a hidden problem. It was always thought that it was going out of fashion but, sadly, it is coming back."
Nikki Fraser, manager of Blast, added it was alarming that the boys were so young as she more commonly sees older people getting involved in this type of abuse.
She said: "Solvent abuse is Russian roulette. People don't realise the first time they do this could be their last. Solvent abuse on its own is bad enough, but there are other risks if they are taking alcohol as well as this seriously alters judgment."
She added: "It is very worrying that these boys have done this as they are so young."
* Anyone who wants further information and support on solvent abuse can contact Re-Solv National Helpline on 01785 810762 or visit their websites: or
A list of local alcohol and drug agencies can be found on the Highland Drug and Alcohol Action Team website at

By Claire Doughty in the Highland News

Thursday, November 01, 2007

'Huffing' Household Chemicals Connected To Teen Suicide

With suicide as the third leading cause of death among adolescents in the United States, a new University of Denver study reveals inhaling or "huffing" vapors of common household goods, such as glue or nail polish, are associated with increased suicidal thoughts and attempts.
See also:
Of the study's participants, 33 percent reported having inhaled volatile solvents, 25 percent had attempted suicide, and 58 percent reported suicidal thoughts.
Stacey Freedenthal and Jeffrey M. Jenson of DU's Graduate School of Social Work joined researchers from Chapel Hill and the University of Pittsburgh in a study of 723 incarcerated youth. "Inhalant Use and Suicidality among Incarcerated Youth" appeared in the September 2007 issue of the academic journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The study was the first work to categorize both levels of severity of inhalant use and gender in relation to suicidal ideas and suicide attempts.
The investigators found a significant increase in suicidal thoughts and attempts with higher use of volatile solvents. Researchers did not determine which problem came first, the huffing or the suicidal behavior, but showed that the two are undeniably connected, even when accounting for numerous other factors. Freedenthal warns parents to be aware of the possibility of suicidal thoughts in children who have been caught inhaling household chemicals.
"Inhalant use has many serious, physiological consequences, including death," says Freedenthal. "Now we are learning ever more strongly that they are also linked to suicidal thoughts and behaviors."
The study found the correlation between huffing and suicidality greater in girls than boys. More than 80 percent of girls who abused inhalants revealed a history of suicide attempts, while less than 60 percent of boys showed the same history. The study also indicated that suicidal thoughts were much higher for girls than boys. Suicidal thoughts and attempts were considered two separate constructs, since thoughts do not always lead to attempts, and attempts are not always preceded by much thought.
The study involved 723 participants incarcerated by the Missouri Division of Youth Services, 629 boys and 94 girls at an average age of 15. Participants were asked if they huffed any of the 35 common household substances, such as paint, paint thinner, shoe polish, spot remover, floor polish, kerosene, gasoline, antifreeze, permanent markers, nail polish remover, mothballs, waxes, lighter fluid, and others.

Taken from ScienceDaily

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Teen accused of crashing car while huffing

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Police say mom tried to remove evidence against daughter

The mother of a Spartanburg teenager accused of huffing compressed air before crashing a friend's car Sunday has joined her daughter in jail.
Kelly Hewitt Furr (left), 39, of 240 S. Main St., Clifton, was charged with accessory after the fact to a felony Friday on allegations she removed the cans of air from the car in an attempt to hide evidence. Three passengers injured in the wreck remained hospitalized Friday, one of whom has yet to regain consciousness.
Furr's daughter, Heather Brooke Hewitt, 19, of 1451 Old Pacolet Road is being held at the Spartanburg County Detention Facility with bond set at $25,000 on two counts of felony driving under the influence. Furr's bond was set at $40,000.
According to prosecutors, Hewitt was huffing the canned air to get high - also known as dusting - when she crashed a 1997 Toyota Camry into a truck Sunday afternoon on Beacon Light Road near Cowpens. Her mother came to the scene of the crash and removed several cans from the vehicle, Principal Deputy Solicitor Barry Barnette said during a Friday bond hearing for Furr.
"She said, 'I know she's been dusting! I know she's been dusting!' " Barnette said. " ... She knew what was in the car, and she took care of it."
Witnesses said Furr also showed little concern for those injured in the crash and refused to ride in the ambulance with her daughter to the hospital, Barnette said.
Furr puzzled by charge
Furr said little during the hearing but told the judge she didn't understand the charge against her.
"That's what upsets me," she said.
One of Hewitt's five passengers, Jamie Maxwell, 23, of Roebuck suffered closed head injuries and remains unconscious at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center. Maranda Poteet, 17, of Inman suffered severe facial injuries, is blind in the left eye and is listed in serious condition at the hospital. A third passenger, Kelly Collins, 21, of Roebuck is in fair condition at Spartanburg Regional, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Hewitt was released from the hospital Thursday and taken to jail. If released on bond, she is to remain on home detention. Conditions of Furr's bond include no contact with any witness or victim in the crash, including her daughter, if released.
Barnette said Hewitt had a past conviction for disturbing schools, and State Law Enforcement Division records show Furr has a previous conviction for criminal domestic violence.
Inhaling compressed air, which is sold to clean computer keyboards and electronics and used by some teens as a quick high, contains chemicals that can cause organ damage and death through suffocation.

By Rachel E. Leonard
taken from the Spartanburg Herald Journal

Friday, October 05, 2007

"Huffing" Linked With Suicidal Behavior in Incarcerated Teens

Inhaling, or "huffing," the vapors of common household solvents strongly correlates with suicidal thoughts and behavior among adolescents.
That’s what researchers found in a study of 723 incarcerated youth--the first work to categorize inhalant use into levels of severity and relate this to suicidal ideas and suicide attempts in incarcerated juveniles. It is also one of the few studies to examine gender differences involved.
"Inhalant Use and Suicidality among Incarcerated Youth," by Dr. Stacey Freedenthal and Dr. Jeffrey M. Jenson, both of the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work, Dr. Michael G. Vaughn of the University of Pittsburgh, and Dr. Matthew O. Howard of the University of North Carolina, appears in the September 2007 issue of the academic journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
The investigators found an increase in suicidal thoughts and attempts with higher levels of use of volatile solvents. In fact, the majority of those in the sample who had been serious abusers prior to incarceration reported having tried to kill themselves at some point.
The researchers did not seek to determine which problem came first, the huffing or the suicidality, but showed that the two are connected, even when accounting for other factors.
The study points out that suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents in the U.S., and that the rates of suicide attempts appear to be very much higher for those who use inhalants than for those who do not.
The study categorized inhalant use into three levels: no use, use without dependence or abuse, and use with a diagnosis of dependence or abuse. The research controlled for factors such as alcohol and other drug use, psychiatric disturbances, and trauma to see if these accounted for the suicidal behavior, but the link specifically between higher levels of inhalant use and suicidality remained distinct for both genders.
The most startling numbers related to girls, revealing a history of suicide attempts among 81.3 percent of those who abused or were dependent on inhalants, with boys in the same category at 59.5 percent.
"Girls' problems tended to be more severe," Dr. Freedenthal says. "For participants who reported dependence or abuse of inhalants, rates of suicide attempts were dramatically higher for girls. However, prior research indicates that while girls attempt suicide more often than boys do, boys actually die by suicide at higher rates."
The study also indicated that suicidal thoughts were much higher for girls than for boys. Suicidal thoughts and attempts were considered two separate constructs, since thoughts do not always lead to attempts, and attempts are not always preceded by much thought.
The study involved 723 participants incarcerated by the Missouri Division of Youth Services, 33 percent of whom reported having inhaled volatile solvents. Twenty-five percent had attempted suicide, and 58 percent reported suicidal thoughts.
Fifty-three percent were from urban or suburban environments, and 47 percent were from rural areas or small towns. Fifty-five percent were white, 33 percent were black, and nearly 12 percent were other races. There were 629 boys and 94 girls. The average age was 15.
Participants were asked if they had huffed any of 35 common household substances, such as paint, paint thinner, glue, shoe polish, spot remover, floor polish, kerosene, gasoline, antifreeze, permanent markers, nail polish, nail polish remover, mothballs, waxes, lighter fluid, and others.
Study participants comprised 97.7 percent of all residents in Missouri's youth incarceration facilities at the time the data were collected, and 55 percent of all youth committed in Missouri that year.
"The very high proportion interviewed is an important distinction of our study. Researchers usually examine a small sample and extrapolate the results to a much larger population, but we interviewed nearly all adolescents incarcerated in juvenile detention centers in Missouri at that time," says Dr. Freedenthal. "This means our study is very closely representative of that state's incarcerated youth."
In light of their findings, the researchers recommend that professionals who deal with troubled youth ask both about solvent use and suicidality when assessing patients for either, because each may be a warning sign for the other. However, Dr. Freedenthal and her co-authors acknowledge that their findings may not apply to non-incarcerated youth. She says future research should look at community samples, as well as samples with different proportions of gender, race, ethnicity, and type of community (rural vs. urban).
Future research should also explore whether inhalant use precedes the suicidality or vice versa to determine if one causes the other, and the specific ways the two issues relate to each other, she says.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Wendy's Ad Generates Complaints

NEW YORK (Associated Press) - Hamburger chain Wendy's International Inc. is getting complaints that its TV commercial showing floating customers who apparently inhaled helium sends the wrong message to children about inhalants.
The ad shows customers standing next to a pressurized tank talking in high-pitched voices and floating to the ceiling. "Filling up with just anything, that's wrong," says the ad, which began airing a few weeeks ago.
Wendy's spokesman Bob Bertini said Wednesday the company has taken a small number of calls and no plans to pull the ad.
Bertini said the ad clearly depicts an absurd scene. "It's a situation that is not real because people don't float on the ceiling," he said.
Harvey Weiss, director of the National Inhalant Prevention Council, a Texas-based organization that works to discourage the practice of "huffing" inhalants to get high, said the ad can give kids "inappropriate ideas."
"Kids get the idea it's OK to put a gas in your body," Weiss said.
Inhaling helium is not as dangerous as other gases, but it can be hazardous if inhaled from a tank.
About 20 people contacted Weiss to complain about the ad, including a woman in Pennsylvania whose son died from inhalants and a safety prevention officer who works with police in Michigan.
The organization has since sent an advisory to about 10,000 people and asked them to contact Wendy's, based in this Columbus suburb.
Other companies have pulled ads in the past that made reference to inhalants, Weiss said. "It seems like every couple of years I see something like this," he said.
FedEx Corp. pulled a commercial that debuted during the Super Bowl in 2000 after receiving complaints that it may give youngsters the impression that it was OK to "huff" inhalants.
Taken from

Friday, September 07, 2007

Fears over teenagers' deadly abuse of canisters

By Sarah Reedman

Parents are being warned that teenagers are risking their lives by sniffing canisters of nitrous oxide and an area of Downham has been littered with them.
The small canisters, used in the catering trade to charge whipped-cream makers, are discharged into balloons and then inhaled – a practice the medical profession has warned could kill.

It is illegal to sell the canisters to people under the age of 18 – but a large number of them have been littering the area around The Howdale in Downham.

The packaging is clearly marked as "whip cream chargers" and each packet contained 24 canisters containing eight grammes of N2O – also known as laughing gas.

A spokesman for Norfolk Police said: "A number of these canisters have been found at places where young people congregate in Downham, including The Howdale. Common sense says that it is a silly thing to be doing. We regard it as anti-social behaviour and will deal with it accordingly."

A nearby resident said she feared the discarded canisters could be a danger to younger children who may not realise what they are.

"What if they find one that hasn't been emptied and start banging it or something? These things are pressurised and could cause a nasty injury," she said.

"There are loads of them laying about, and balloons that the kids have been using to sniff the gas with – it's very unpleasant," she said.

A spokesman for Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital said the accident and emergency department had not dealt with anyone yet as a result of inhaling the gas, but warned it was only a matter of time."

Misusing any kind or compressed air or gas can be highly dangerous. Inhaling from a pressurised container could cause internal damage and inhaling any kind of gas may deprive the body of oxygen.

"There is also a risk from small pieces of the metal container breaking off under pressure and these could cause injuries similar to being hit by a pellet from a high-powered air rifle or shotgun," he said.

Inhalant abuse from the sniffing of household items has been known to cause deaths from Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome.

Anyone finding a cartridge, some of which are marked SFG, is advised to contact Norfolk police on 0845 456 4567 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Rochdale shops miss glue sniffing warning signs

Rochdale News

"Shops in the borough selling solvents need to be more vigilant to help prevent young people glue sniffing"; that is the conclusion of a recent survey carried out by Rochdale Council's Trading Standards Service. When they asked young people to visit seven local shops to buy three or four solvent based glues along with plastic bags, four shopkeepers sold them the solvents.
Rochdale Council's Principal Trading Standards Officer, Michaela Monk said: "I was surprised by how easily young people were able to buy solvents which can be lethal if inhaled. A number of shopkeepers did not seem to heed the warning signs, like young people buying plastic bags and solvents at the same time.
"Although the focus has shifted of late to the underage sale of alcohol and cigarettes, young people are still risking their lives by abusing solvents and shop owners need to remain vigilant."
Trading standards will be revisiting the shops that sold the solvents to give the owners advice on the warning signs.
Michaela Monk continued: "Shop owners can play a big part in reducing solvent abuse by making themselves aware of the warning signs. If they do not, they could be putting their businesses on the line. Owners found guilty of mis-selling solvents can face a fine of £5000 and up to six months in prison."
There were eight deaths from volatile substance abuse amongst the under 18s in 2005 bringing the total number of deaths of all ages since 1971 to 2,198.
If you suspect that a trader may be mis-selling solvents, contact Trading Standards at Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Australian petrol sniffing success

Petrol sniffing now seen as 'uncool'
Youth workers say the perception of petrol sniffing has changed radically in the central Australian Indigenous community of Papunya.
Blair McFarland, from the central Australian Youth Link-Up Service, says petrol sniffing is now seen as something to be ashamed of.
He says the community had been free of petrol sniffing for about six months, when it won the football grand final last year.
He says nearly a year after the win, young people in the community have realised how much the habit was holding them back.
"It's a culture change that really has to happen, if you really want to knock it on the head, and the same thing happened in Yuendumu, after 12 years of the Mount Theo program," he said.
"It just got to be uncool to sniff petrol."
Taken form ABC Message Stick, Australia

Friday, June 29, 2007

`Huffing' not covered by DWI laws

June 27, 2007
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Acknowledging the decision reveals potential "gaps" in the law, New York's highest court said Wednesday that a driver who "huffed" a stimulant spray couldn't be charged with driving while intoxicated in a crash that left a teenager dead.
The ruling effectively narrows the definition of intoxicated driving to the effects of drinking alcohol or taking certain drugs.
"If defendant did what the prosecution charges, then his conduct was reprehensible," wrote Chief Judge Judith Kaye in the unanimous decision. "Perhaps gaps exist in the law ... however, a determination by this court that intoxication in Vehicle and Traffic Law includes the use of any substance would improperly override the legislative policy judgment."
Neither could the driver have been charged under a 1966 law against driving while high on drugs because that law covers only "explicitly enumerated drugs," the decision stated.
The court traced the evolution of drunken driving laws to 1910 in analyzing whether inhaling an aerosol could be a cause of intoxication.
"The (1910) law did not _ as it does not today _ define `intoxication,"' Kaye wrote. In 1919, an appellate court adopted a rule that "one is intoxicated when he has imbibed enough liquor to render him incapable of giving that attention and care to the operation of his automobile that a man of prudence and reasonable intelligence would give."
Huffing is inhaling the chemicals given off by glue, aerosols and other substances that can act as stimulants. It replaces oxygen in a person's lungs and can be fatal.
The court said it would be up to the Legislature to address huffing and new ways to get high. State Sen. Catherine Young, an Olean Republican, sponsored a bill this year that would have expanded the definition of "drug" to include "inhalants and glues" in the driving while ability impaired by drugs law. It passed the GOP-led Senate in March, but didn't get out of committee in the Democrat-led Assembly.
In the case considered by the court, Vincent Litto was also charged with manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, assault and other charges after the 2004 wreck. Litto, who was 19 at the time, was accused of driving 50 mph in Brooklyn when he picked up a can of "Dust Off" and sprayed it into his mouth. About 45 seconds later, he crashed into an oncoming car, leaving a 17-year-old girl dead and others, including himself, injured.
"I think it's significant in that hopefully district attorneys offices won't do something like this again," said Litto's attorney, Anthony Bramante.
He said Litto's trial can now go forward, without the driving while intoxicated charge. Litto has been free while he challenged the intoxicated driving charge.
Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Ann Bordley didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
By MICHAEL GORMLEY Associated Press Writer

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Re-Solv Scottish Training Pack for Professionals

1 Day Conference
£20* per delegate including Lunch/refreshments

Tuesday 4th Sept 2007
Registration 9.30-10am Conference 10am – 4.00 pm
Venue: Baptist Church, 67 Murray Place, Stirling, FK8 1AU


Many people believe that Volatile Substance Abuse is no longer an issue. They are wrong. Studies show that significant numbers of young people experiment with these life threatening substances. Sudden Sniffing Death can occur on the 1st episode or the 100th.

This conference aims to re-focus the attention of key stakeholders on the issue of VSA and to ensure that services embed policy and practice to both reduce VSA via proactive preventative education and to ensure that those who do practise VSA are not further endangered by inappropriate response.

Central to these aims is the launch of the Re-Solv Training Pack for Social Care personnel. Looked after and accommodated children have been demonstrated to practise VSA in volumes far in excess of those in the generic population. The launch of the pack is the culmination of a 3 year research project that Re-Solv has undertaken on behalf of the Scottish Executive.

Conference Content
Guest speakers from a variety of sectors will present different perspectives surrounding the issue of VSA. Participating speakers will include representatives from Trading Standards, Police Drug Awareness Officers, the retail sector, the Learning Exchange, SAADAT and the Freagarrach Project. An important contribution will be delivered by the parent of a child lost to VSA.
A Market Place will also be available throughout the lunch and break periods.

Who should attend?
All staff working with children or young people.

Booking Form
Volatile Substance Abuse

1 Day Conference

Date: 4th September 2007 – 9.30am -4.00 pm

Venue: Baptist Church, 67 Murray Place, Stirling




Invoice address if different

Local Authority or ADAT area



Any special requirements e.g. physical, sensory or dietary

Please return to: Chris Daly via Email or fax or return by mail to: Re-Solv Head Office, 30a High St Stone, Staffordshire ST15 8AW
Tel: 01260 299093 (home office) Fax: 01260 299093

*£20 cost remains payable in the event of non attendance

DATA PROTECTION ACT 1998. This information is held securely on a computer within Re-Solv or the Forth Valley NHS Board. Access is restricted. All information is CONFIDENTIAL and is accessed only when required.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Wal-Mart, 3M sued in teenager's death from solvent

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The parents of a California teenager who died after inhaling an aerosol dust remover sued the 3M Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Thursday for selling the substance, which produces a euphoric state when inhaled, without adequate warnings.
The lawsuit, filed in Monterey Superior Court, said both companies knew 3M Dust Remover was popular among teenage inhalant abusers, but continued selling it for years without warnings or an additive that prevents abuse.
"The product has become widely successful -- not so much for its revolutionary cleaning properties -- but because of its known association with inhalant abuse by children and teenagers who seek a cheap 'high,'" the suit said.
The practice of inhaling dust remover products, known as "dusting" has been widely reported by the U.S. media since at least 1999 and generated one national lawsuit, the complaint said.
Wal-Mart was not immediately available for comment. A 3M spokeswoman had no immediate comment.
Kasey Jo Easley, 19, died days after becoming intoxicated from "huffing" 3M Dust Remover purchased from a Wal-Mart store and falling unconscious in a hot tub on November 23, 2006 at a party at a Salinas, California home, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit also names as defendants three men who were at the home during the incident, including one who instructed the girl to buy four cans of 3M Dust Remover.
Attorney Frank Pitre, who represents the girl's parents, said Wal-Mart and 3M knew for more than a decade the product "was commonly and dangerously abused by teenagers as a drug," but failed to add a "bitteragent" used by manufacturers of similar products to prevent inhalant abuse.
3M introduced a bitteragent to the product in March, the suit said.
The suit accuses Wal-Mart and 3M of wrongful death, product liability and negligence and demands punitive damages of an amount to be determined at trial.

From Reuters

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Alleged Huffing Leads To Arrest For DUI Manslaughter

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- It's a DUI case that could be a landmark. A University of Central Florida student was arrested, not for drinking or using drugs, but for huffing.
Investigators said 20-year-old Malcolm Barnes was behind the wheel in a crash that killed a motorcyclist on Alafaya Trail in east Orange County last October
Barnes was arrested for DUI manslaughter on Friday afternoon. Detectives knew the UCF student was high when he went the wrong way down Alafaya Trail and threw 19-year-old Andrew Brannon off his motorcycle and dragged him to his death in October.
Investigators didn't find any drugs or alcohol in his system, but a homicide detective did find two aerosol cans of dust remover and rag in the back seat of his car
"She came to the conclusion he must have been under the influence of the inhalant," said Kim Miller, Florida Highway Patrol.
It's called huffing.
"You spray or soak a rag with substance and apply it to your nose and inhale the substance," explained Dr. Karl Seig.
Seig works with addiction patients. He's recently seen a spike in huffing cases. It may seem harmless, but inhaling the toxins cause brain damage and sometimes death.
Detectives said Barnes had no idea he had hit Brannon. That's why he dragged the teen 300 feet before stopping.
Barnes' father covered his son's head as he was taken into jail.
This is the first DUI manslaughter case connected with huffing. Investigators hope that sends the message that it is a dangerous drug.

From Florida

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Abuse of Inhalants Rising Among Girls, US Study Shows

Too many people think of young boys when they imagine teenagers abusing inhalants, according to drug-abuse-prevention experts.
A report from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows that girls ages 12 to 17 are increasingly more likely to sniff or “huff” dangerous substances such as nail-polish remover or glue.
The agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services examined inhalant use between 2002 and 2005. The rates of use stayed about the same over that time, with 4.5 percent of the 12- to 17-year-olds surveyed saying they had used inhalants within the past year.
While use among boys appeared to drop slightly, however, from 4.6 percent in 2002 to 4.2 percent in 2005, use among girls increased from 4.1 percent in 2002 to 4.9 percent in 2005.
Harvey Weiss, the executive director of the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition in Chattanooga, Tenn., said in an interview that had noticed in other reports that girls appeared to be abusing inhalants as much as boys, “but it just seemed not to be getting the attention that it ought to.”
The study, released March 15, also indicates that girls appear to be abusing substances different from those abused by boys. It found that 34.9 percent of girls who abused inhalants used glue, shoe polish, or toluene, a solvent found in nail-polish remover, compared with 25.8 percent of boys.
The study found boys were more likely than girls to have used nitrous oxide, or “whippets,” to get high; 29 percent of boys reported using that method, compared with 19 percent of girls.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Video news report on huffing

Parent 2 Parent: The Dangers Of Huffing Chemicals

See video and full report

It’s a dangerous form of drug abuse and one that affects younger teens. In this Parent 2 Parent report, the dangers and warning signs of huffing. This salt lake teenager is currently in treatment for alcohol and inhalant abuse. He began inhaling chemicals, or huffing, when he was 13-years-old. Doctors say that’s the age most teens begin.“If you look at surveys among youth in American, 8th graders have the most use across the board,” says Scott Whittle, M.D. with Wasatch Canyons Treatment Center. We talked to a teen who deals with permanent damage to his vision, a result of huffing for several months and doesn’t think he could survive any more abuse.“I’ll seriously die if I huff again, I’m serious,” he says. Huffing is a dangerous form of drug abuse. Even after one attempt, a user can have a fatal reaction. Other consequences include:
Memory loss
Brain damage
Kidney damage.
Doctors say kids may try it because it’s cheap and materials such as chemicals, gasoline and glue can be easily obtained in the home. Signs parents can look for:
Paint stains around the mouth or nose
Chemical smell
Drunk or dazed appearance
And rapidly declining grades
“There will be a dramatic decline in academic functioning. You don’t do well in school while you’re inhaling,” says Dr. Whittle. Help and recovery is possible, but if parents notice these signs, they should seek treatment for their child as soon as possible.“If a parent finds it,” says Dr. Whittle, “they should absolutely bring their child to treatment and they should do it right away.”“I’d say don’t do it. it gets really freaking addicting,” There are more than 1,000 everyday household products being abused by kids.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

'Huffing' Outcry Prompts YouTube to Clarify Policy

Feb. 6, 2007 — When Doug Fisher wrote a letter in December to YouTube ripping the video-sharing Web site for corporate irresponsibility, the New Jersey assemblyman didn't expect to hear back.
A series of YouTube videos featuring teens abusing inhalants crossed a line for the legislator, who has tried to make "huffing" a key issue in the New Jersey state legislature.
"Inhalant abuse is a growing phenomenon with kids from 12 to 14," Fisher said in an interview with "And it's the kids who are watching YouTube, not the parents."
Fisher introduced legislation last year that would ban the sale of keyboard cleaner, a common inhalant, to anyone under the age of 18. He also has heard from concerned constituents and visited schools where administrators — many of them from middle schools — describe a rise in the use of chemical-based substances to get high.
"Middle school has always been the age for the primary use of inhalants," said Harvey Weiss, director of the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition. "These are legal products they can find in their house or their school. And many parents feel like their children won't use inhalants, so they don't talk to their kids about them."
Learning How to 'Huff'
Inhalants broadly include any substance that gives off toxic chemical vapors. When inhaled, these products can induce a mind-altered state. The abuse of inhalants, known as huffing, can attack the central nervous system and can quickly lead to heart failure.
The age group with the greatest percentage of inhalant use — more than 17 percent — is eighth graders, according to a 2005 survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Seeing video clips of the potentially deadly behavior just a mouse click away pushed Fisher to act.
"The videos posted by YouTube users instruct and demonstrate how to abuse inhalants to the many millions of people viewing them," Fisher wrote in a Dec. 18 letter. "YouTube has a responsibility to remove any video showing the abuse of inhalants to ensure that it does not promote this inappropriate behavior among younger users that view the material."
Late last month, Fisher received a surprising response. YouTube was heeding to his demand.
In the Jan. 22 letter, Micah Schaffer, a senior specialist for YouTube's consumer operations group, informed Fisher that the Web site, in response to his letter, would change their "Community Guidelines" page to more explicitly restrict video clips featuring all types of drug abuse, including inhalants.
Currently, there is a bullet on that page that reads: "Don't post videos showing dangerous or illegal acts, like animal abuse or bomb-making."
"Since your letter brought this issue to our attention, this week we will be adding 'drug abuse' as one of the examples in our Community Guidelines," Schaffer wrote.
While Fisher said the YouTube letter is a start, he's not totally satisfied with the response just yet.
YouTube's Community Guidelines page has not been updated to reflect the promised drug abuse restriction. A search for the terms "huffing" and "marijuana" produced a range of results — some innocuous, some suggestive and some seemingly blatant examples of drug abuse.

In one clip entitled "Freon," described by the poster as "me hittin' on some freon," a young teenager, apparently dizzy and disoriented, falls to the ground in his backyard. Freon is a common aerosol propellant that can be used as an inhalant.
YouTube Policies Questioned
Fisher also criticized YouTube's policy, described in Schaffer's letter, of allowing Web site users to monitor the content — the same policy used by eBay and Craigslist. If visitors to the site have a problem with a specific clip, they can flag the content. A team of YouTube administrators then investigates the flagged material.
To Fisher, the company has the resources to monitor the material more thoroughly itself. He cited YouTube's multibillion dollar sale to Google, and the search engine giant's huge profits.
"They know they can afford to put 100 people on staff to answer these flagged videos," Fisher said. "You can't say 'we don't have a department,' or 'we're overwhelmed.'"
A company spokesman would not say how many YouTube staff members are assigned to monitor flagged content, but did say that the questionable clips are looked at around the clock.
Clips featuring drug abuse have always violated the Web site's terms of use, the spokesman said.
"We are fully aware these videos are inappropriate," the spokesman said. "We have always worked to remove this content once we are notified of it."
While YouTube may be legally protected by the terms of use, the issue does raise questions about Internet regulations, something that YouTube has grown accustomed to. Just last week, Viacom requested that 100,000 clips from its various networks be removed from the site.
"Law is developing for the Internet, but of course, the Internet is not like broadcast television and radio," said Christine A. Corcos, an associate professor of law at Louisiana State University. "You just can't pick up the law from the regulated industries and apply it to the Internet."
Corcos, who edits a media law blog, said that regardless of a site like YouTube's monitoring policies and terms of use, there so many clips being posted that constantly enforcing them becomes an impossibility. "Some of these sites seem uncontrolled because people upload material on them at a wild pace."
In December, Weiss, the advocate for the dangers of inhalants, found out just how hard it is for site visitors to continually monitor YouTube postings.
Weiss e-mailed the 9,000 members of the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition, asking them to comb through YouTube for huffing clips and request the content be stripped from the Web site — per policy.
He said that while some of the clips were pulled by YouTube, others were not, and with 100,000 clips added to the site daily, new videos featuring the drug abuse emerged.
The clips, Weiss said, continue to anger him.
"In a lot of ways, it glamorizes huffing," he said. "It shows people that there's no consequences."

taken from ABC News

Monday, February 05, 2007

New Jersey to make VSA illegal

TRENTON, New Jersey Inhaling fumes from Dust-Off, paint remover, and whipped cream cans will be considered illegal under a new law recently signed by Gov. Jon S. Corzine.
Assemblymen Douglas Fisher and John J. Burzichelli sponsored the legislation in an attempt to crack down on the inhalation of euphoria-inducing chemicals, commonly known as huffing.

At the legislators' requests, the operators of, a Web site that hosts videos, have agreed to remove videos that document the use of inhalants.
"Nine out of 10 parents have no idea their kids are doing this," Fisher said Friday. "One out of four kids abuse inhalants. That's a very high number."
By allowing people to post videos of kids inhaling the toxic chemicals, the operators of are encouraging the inhalant abuse, Fisher said.
"YouTube is sort of like anarchy in a sense that everyone puts up anything they want and they don't monitor it because they get 100,000 videos a day," Fisher said. "They're making it more acceptable. Adults are thinking one way and the kids are thinking, This is cool.'"
Fisher said he and Burzichelli have supported the legislation for nearly a year and are working with schools and drug educational groups to inform children and parents about the risk of inhalants.
Under the new law, nitrous oxide and any glue, paint remover or chemicals with intoxicating fumes are defined as toxic chemicals under the state's illegal drug laws. The list of paraphernalia is also expanded to include objects associated with inhalant abuse such as compressed gas containers, tubes and bags.
Use or possession of a toxic chemical for purposes of huffing will be considered a disorderly person's offense, punishable by up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines.
Those found in possession of a toxic chemical with the intent to distribute or manufacture a chemical drug could receive up to 18 months in jail and a $10,000 fine.
"Dust-Off is probably the worst one," Fisher said, referring to the aerosol chemical that cleans computer keyboards. "Everyone thinks it's just canned air, but you could die after the first time."
As many as one in five students in America has intentionally abused a common household product to get high before reaching eighth grade, according to the Alliance of Consumer Education.
Statistics also show that inhalants are the fifth-most-abused substance after alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and prescription drug misuse among high school students.
"I've talked to people in shelters where they said inhalants abuse was their first drug of choice," Fisher said. "Because they're household products and so readily available, it needs to be monitored."
Fisher advises parents to become educated about the warning signs, and to also visit to "begin to understand."
"It's such a new medium that no one is really paying any attention," he said.
The Web site operators also told Fisher that it will add "drug abuse" as one of the examples of what sort of videos are unacceptable on the site.

By Jessica
taken from the Gloucester County Times

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Huffing: Tales of trouble

Justin Conner's vehicle bears the scars of a run-in with a utility pole. Conner, 17, Dorchester, and a passenger, Stefan Sova, 16, Staplehurst, sustained injuries in the collision. Both teens were abusing inhalants, or "huffing," at the time.
by Stephanie Croston
Although it may not seem dangerous, huffing can be fatal.
Seward County has seen at least three vehicle accidents within the past two months in which the teens involved were huffing. Huffing involves spraying an aerosol product into the mouth and inhaling.
The first accident involving teens who were huffing happened Nov. 21 when a vehicle drove into the front of Hall of Cards in downtown Seward.
The second happened Dec. 22 between 6 and 6:30 p.m. at the fairgrounds. Justin Conner, 17, of Dorchester was driving that car after huffing for the first time.
"It gives a high and a buzz," Conner said.
Despite that, he felt in control. But he doesn't remember hitting the power pole at the fairgrounds, saying he blacked out.
"We hit so hard, it knocked down power lines," he said.
Conner's jaw hit the steering wheel and his head hit the windshield. Everything in the car shifted to the right upon impact.
Stefan Sova, 16, of Staplehurst was one of the three passengers in the vehicle. He said he had been huffing for a couple months after a friend convinced him to try it. He had also blacked out just before impact.
"I woke up to (my friend) screaming, 'We're going to hit the pole,'" he said.
Sova said his seat unlocked and went forward. He ended up with a broken rib and punctured lung. Both Conner and Sova were wearing seat belts.
Sova said the buzz gives a person a "wierd feeling." For him, his voice deepened, sounds echoed and lights popped in his eyes. When he turned his head, he saw a "freeze-frame effect" where images blurred across his vision.
The effect lasts five to 10 minutes, but Sova said it's not addictive.
"When I look back, it's kind of dumb," he said. "It's cheap and easy."
The Seward rescue squad took Sova to the emergency room, where he was treated by Drs. Hank Newburn and Barbara Froehner.
Inhaling an aerosol product may have other consequences, too. "It could freeze your tongue if it's too close," Conner said.
"Doctors say it could mess you up later and give you mini-strokes," Sova said.
Sova said his friends have stopped huffing, and he won't do it again.
"It's not worth it," he said.
Conner gave the same warning.
"Don't do it," Conner said. "It messes with your brain."
Taken from SCI Online

Monday, January 08, 2007

Pakistan street kids plagued by glue sniffing

By Waheed Khan
KARACHI, Jan 8 (Reuters) - It's a chilly night in a run-down part of the Pakistani city of Karachi and several boys squat in a dirty alley, getting high on glue.
Breathing in fumes from glue-soaked rags and glue-filled plastic bags is a daily ritual for these boys who live rough on the streets of Pakistan's biggest city.
"The fumes burn the eyes and leave the body dry. It kills your appetite. But after being kicked and treated like a dog it gives you peace," said one of the boys, Mohammad Naeem.
Cheap at 50 rupees (85 cents) a tin and easier to get than illegal drugs, "Samad Bond" glue -- the sniffers' favourite brand -- is flooding the streets of Karachi.
The Pakistan Medical Association says substance abuse among street children has reached alarming levels.
"If more is not done soon, Pakistan is heading for a street children hooked on glue crisis on the scale of other countries like Morocco and Brazil," said Qaiser Sajjad, the association's general-secretary.
There are about 14,000 street children in Karachi and most are sniffing glue, said Aksa Zainab, a social worker who helps street kids at a drop-in centre operated by the Azad Foundation in cooperation with UNICEF.
"According to our research, 90 percent of these children are involved in glue sniffing or in some other solvent abuse," Zainab added.
The problem is getting worse as more and more poor parents with large families are unable to make ends meet and their children end up in the streets of Pakistani cities and towns.
Severe urban poverty, a rising cost of living and few job opportunities for the poor are causing the growing street children problem in Karachi, explained economist Asad Saeed.
"There is also no law on the compulsory education of children. It's a free-for-all society," Saeed said.
Akram, one of the boys sniffing glue in the alley, explains how he ended up homeless.
The 15-year-old, dressed in a ragged blue shirt and dirty jeans, said he ran away from his stepfather who beat him with iron rods and scorched him with cigarettes.
The boys make money cleaning cars and scavenging for scraps in rubbish.
"I wash cars, collect paper and metal from garbage dumps. I even beg for alms but I'm committing no crime," said Mohammad Khalil, one of few who prefers to sleep on the streets with his friends because of family fights at home.
Abdul Karim, a scruffy-haired boy with bucked teeth, is among a small group of street children who have kicked the glue habit.
Small and cocky, Karim attended a detoxification and rehabilitation programme at the Azad Foundation drop-in centre, which is housed in five small rooms in a narrow lane of a downtown residential area.
Karim is a regular visitor to the centre where children get clean clothes, food, medical aid, counselling and even schooling.
"I used to sniff glue until three months back. I used to feel dizzy and sleep all day. Now I feel better and am also trying to stop smoking cigarettes," said Karim.
One room at the centre has a television set, a major attraction for the kids, another has games and a third has been turned into a classroom with colourful charts and a chalk board.
"The numbers are increasing as they tell their friends of what benefits they get here," said social worker Zainab.

From Reuters' AlertNet website