As a father of an eighth-grader and Broward children’s injury lawyer, I was frightened to learn that a Delray Beach Florida woman was just arrested for Driving While Under the Influence of an aerosol inhalant. Amy Elizabeth Merrill, 19 is facing two counts of DUI after she allegedly caused a serious Florida car accident injuring two pedestrians. The victims, 50 year old Michael Grieco and 19 year old Daniel Gross were simply unloading their Range Rover when Merrill’s Ford Explorer careened into them. Greico was caught between the Ranger Rover and another parked car, pinning him underneath the vehicle. The other victim sustained severe facial injuries.
Merrill’s blood test revealed evidence of an aerosol product. Apparently, she told police that prior to the collision, while stopped at a traffic light, she inhaled an aerosol computer dust spray. The slang for this type of drug abuse is “huffing.” She also admitted to buying the canister of computer keyboard spray at a local store before agreeing to provide a blood sample.
Intentionally inhaling chemical vapors like computer dust spray can be a dangerous and deadly way to get high. Several teens have died after inhaling the chemical diflourethane. Its manufacturer, Falcon, has placed warnings about inhaling dangers on its product Dust-Off. But that is not enough.
Often police and parents are helpless in preventing access to teens; until it is too late. The possession of household products containing these chemicals is perfectly legal and inexpensive to obtain. Some of the most popular methods of huffing include gas fumes, airplane glue, paint thinner and compressed gas.
For some reason, huffing is most popular amongst 12-14 year old eighth-graders. According to the National Institution of Drug Abuse, 17% of eighth-graders have reportedly tried it. What most do not know is that huffing can kill the very first time a child experiments with it. The stimulants inherent in the chemicals can cause hallucinations or a strong young heart to go into cardiac arrest.
As a father and Miami dangerous product injury lawyer I urge all parents and caregivers to discuss the dangers of huffing with their children before it may be too late. It is also important to recognize the common warning signs that might suggest that your child has already begun huffing; such as unusual sores around the mouth, a glassy eyed appearance or sudden personality changes.