Monday, November 03, 2008

Michigan huffing death

IONIA, Michigan (WOOD) -- After her son's death, apparently from huffing or inhaling a computer dusting spray, Beverly Helms started researching.
She wanted to know more about what Michael Meek had done -- and what it did to him.
Some of what she found makes her worry others are learning exactly how to make the same mistake. Countless online videos capture teenagers and adults huffing.
"There were even a couple of moms spraying it in the face of little toddlers," Helms told 24 Hour News 8.
She registered with one Web site to try and reach the people who posted the videos.
"Just to say this is what happened my little boy," she said. "A 9- or 10-year-old looks at that and thinks, 'It's not going to hurt me,' and they become another statistic."
The statistics are sad. The National Inhalant Prevention Coalition estimates as many as 125 people die from huffing across the country every year. Even one use can kill, damaging the heart, brains and lungs.
Helms found her son, Michael, slouched at the end of his bed one morning in September.
"They found a can of computer duster under his hand," she said.
And so many teens expose themselves to that risk. The 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health concludes roughly 10 percent of US teenagers have huffed in their lifetimes.
"I just want parents to be aware," Helms said.
Aware, she says, because her son wasn't into other drugs or alcohol. His friends told her he always said no thanks. But something made him think huffing would be safe.
And Helms is worried online videos could convey the same false message.
"I think it's absolutely scary and ridiculous that they can even keep them on there," she said. "I would like to see them off."
The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America called on one online video site -- YouTube -- to take huffing videos down. The group says it worked when enough members filed complaints. A group spokeswoman said she believes if moms like Helms find new videos and complain, they too could succeed in getting the videos removed.
Meek was known around town for his love of skateboarding.

taken from