Huffing Incident

By: Laura Gibbs
By: Laura Gibbs

A 10-year-old-boy who lives in a house at 5315 Garden Plane in Loves Park and an 11-year-old boy lives in the neighborhood were apparently huffing gasoline. This all happened in a backyard inside an enclosed tent. The two boys fell unconscious and were located by one of the boy's parents Monday afternoon.

Loves Park Police and EMS responded to the parent's call at around 3:10 p.m. The two boys were taken to Rockford Memorial Hospital. Police say both boys are on life support in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

This tragic story is hard for both parents and police to hear. In Loves Park, huffing isn't considered to be a problem among youth, but no matter where the incident occurs research shows that it's the first time users who most often die from a single use.

When Loves Park Deputy Chief Jim Puckett arrived on the scene Monday afternoon he found 2 boys fighting for every breath. The two boys were huffing. What's achieved is a similar feeling as to alcohol intoxication. Huffing is inhaling chemical vapors to achieve an altered mental or physical state.

There are over 1,000 common household products to inhale. Volatile solvents which is left unsealed can vaporize a room are: paint thinner, gasoline, felt-tip markers and nail polish. Aerosols are: deodorant, hair products, cooking products, and fabric protectors. Signs of huffing that parents should watch out for are kids who smell like chemicals and sores around the mouth.

It's too early to know how long the two boys were exposed to the gasoline. The tent where the boys were found was totally enclosed from top to bottom. There was no place the gasoline could go. Police say the smell coming from the tent was very potent and the gasoline has no place to escape.

The part affected the quickest by huffing is the brain. Loves Park police say the two boys had to have their blood cleansed at the hospital.

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Inhalant Abuse

  • Huffing is the act of getting high by inhaling toxic fumes from legal household or industrial items.

  • Other names for this act are bagging and sniffing.

  • Huffing is responsible for more than 1,000 U.S. deaths annually.

  • Inhalant abuse is third to alcohol and marijuana in drug use by teens.

  • Twenty percent of all eighth graders have huffed inhalants.

Common Signs

  • Red, runny eyes or nose
  • Chemical breath
  • Slurred speech
  • Excessive or odd laughter
  • "Drunk" appearance
  • Glassy, dilated or constricted eyes
  • Sweating
  • Nonsensical talk, paranoia
  • Withdrawal from family
  • Apathy
  • Rags/Cotton balls and plastic bags with chemical odor
  • Correction fluid on nose, fingers, or clothes
  • Markers in pockets

Common Items Used for Huffing

  • Hair spray
  • Gasoline
  • Rubber cement glue
  • Furniture polish
  • Air fresheners
  • Spray paint
  • Liquid correction fluid
  • Paint thinners
  • Inhalers
  • Breath spray
  • Felt tip markers
  • Propane gas
  • Cleaning fluids
  • Tape head cleaners
  • Aerosol whipped cream
  • Vegetable cooking sprays
  • Paint thinners
  • Art or office supply solvents

Source: http://www.departments.dsu.edu/student_services/ra_projects/huffing.htm (Dakota State University Web site) contributed to this report.


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