(BEDFORD) - A Bedford man was arrested after police found him slumped over the steer wheel of a vehicle Friday afternoon in the Walmart parking lot.
According to Bedford Police Chief Dennis Parsley, 36-year-old Scott Kaiser was incoherent when police found him.
Officers determined Kaiser had been inhaling a computer dusting spray. He was arrested and charged with public intoxicated and inhaling toxic fumes.
Parsley warns about the dangers of inhaling substances.
"This is commonly known as huffing and can cause irreversible damage to the user's heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, and brain. Just all kinds of medical issues," Parsley says. "It can lead to death especially in children and teens."
Children can die the first time, or any time, they try an Inhalant. This is known as Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome. While it can occur with many types of Inhalants, it is particularly associated with the abuse of air conditioning coolant, butane, propane, electronics and the chemicals in some aerosol products. The inhalant causes the heart to beat rapidly and erratically, resulting in cardiac arrest.
"Death from huffing can occur upon the first time of use or after prolonged inhalant abuse." Parsley says. "Other causes of death related to huffing include asphyxiation, aspiration or suffocation."
Reports in 2005 about teens dying after inhaling the chemical difluoroethane from a popular computer-cleaning spray known as Dust-Off called widespread attention to the practice of inhalant abuse. But it wasn't the only product with the potential to be abused by inhalant abusers.
Huffing is the intentional inhalation of chemical vapors to attain a mental "high" or euphoric effect. A wide variety of substances, including many common household products, are abused by inhalers. Although inhalant abuse is declining from its peak in the 1990s, it is still a significant problem.
Substances commonly used by inhalant abusers fall into several categories:
- Volatile solvents, such as those found in paint thinner, gasoline, felt-tip markers, nail polish remover, glue, and other household products.
- Aerosol sprays containing propellants and solvents: Examples include spray paint, deodorant, and hair-care products.
- Gases, most commonly nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
- Nitrites, a group of chemicals that are used in room deodorizers, are more often abused by those seeking sexual enhancement rather than a euphoric state. Nitrites are most commonly abused by adults.
Parsley says, parents of teens need to be especially vigilant about signs of inhalant abuse (huffing), since the abused substances are simple household items and not readily identifiable as drugs of abuse.
Signs of inhalant abuse include chemical smells on clothing or breath, slurred speech, loss of appetite,nausea, a drunk or disoriented appearance, pain or stains on skin or clothing, inattentiveness, and lack of coordination.
Chemical-soaked rags or empty spray paint or other solvent containers may be found.
Inhalants are substances that are easily purchased and are inexpensive, making them attractive to curious teens.
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