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