Two people were arrested last week in Warsaw and both are facing class A misdemeanors – punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of no more than $5,000 – for “huffing.”
The initial booking sheets for Michael Dean Johnston, 44, of Syracuse, and Daniel Adam Method, 26, Warsaw, showed their charges as “glue sniffing.” In reality, Indiana law changed on July 1, 1999, recognizing the crime as “huffing” and increased the misdemeanor from a class B to a class A.
“Huffing” or “sniffing” is the deliberate inhalation of fumes, vapors, or gases from common household products in order to get high, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The use of inhalants can lead to cardiac arrest, addiction and other health problems.
In the second incident, police were called to a residence on Levi Lee Road where the home owner wanted his cousin, identified as Daniel Method, removed from the property. Shuter said Method and a female, Amanda Christine Gibson, 32, also of Warsaw, were in a tent inside a shed on the complainant’s property. Method was also taken into custody when the officer noted paint on his face.
Method was charged with huffing and possession of drug paraphernalia and booked on a $350 bond. Gibson was arrested for possession of salvia or synthetic cannabinoid and possession of paraphernalia. Her bond was also set at $350.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, spray paints, markers, glues and cleaning fluids contain volatile substances that have psychoactive (mind-altering) properties when inhaled. But they can also be deadly.
Huffing is more common among middle school and high school aged kids. One in five students in the U.S. has used an inhalant to get high by the time he or she reaches the eighth grade, and about 125 kids die from huffing each year, according to Harvey Weiss of the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition. But no one is immune to it.
Nearly all products used in huffing produce effects similar to anesthetics, which slow down the body’s function. The NIPC offers that users experience slight stimulation depending on the dosage, but Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome can happen the first time or the 100th time.
The best prevention is to talk to children before they become a victim. Common signs of huffing include seeing paint or stains on the body or clothing; spots or sores around the mouth; red or runny eyes or nose; a chemical breath odor; drunk, dazed or dizzy appearance; nausea, loss of appetite; anxiety, excitability or irritability.
If you suspect someone is huffing, help is available. Contact the NIPC or call 800-269-4237.