LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) Many people have abused inhalants for decades, sniffing and inhaling products like hair spray, paint, glue and even gas on a cloth.
But, there’s a deadly trend that has become popular amongst teens and elementary school children.
Tonight, we have the story of a teen’s death that inspired his aunt from Hammond, La. to warn everyone about the dangers of “huffing” air in a can.
It sounds like fun, because it changes the pitch of their voice and gives a short lived high. Kids and teens who try it, think it’s daring – but what they don’t know is, it can be deadly.
Stacie Triche, founder of savliv35 says, “they have no idea that this product or products out there can kill them.” That product is compressed air in a can.
Triche says, “the keyboard air duster has been named a narcotic in a can.”
She has come to know it as “death in a can” – a reality that hit her family hard.
Triche says, “my nephew went home, tried it and died within minutes”.
What her nephew, 14 year old Charlie Stroud tried is called “huffing.”
It can cause “sudden sniffing death syndrome” – a term medical professionals use to describe unintentional death while huffing.
This happens when the user suffers a heart attack or suffocates because the brain, heart or lungs are being deprived of oxygen.
Recent CDC statistics show a slight decline in substance and inhalant abuse among teens.
And while that’s encouraging, a sobering fact remains. When it comes to certain drugs, and especially inhalants like air in a can, one time is all it takes to make a fatal mistake.
Nicole Lavergne, a nurse practioner in Lafayette says the effects range from nerve cell damage, often permanent, to death.
Lavergne says 22% of people who use it die the first time using an inhalant.
Triche said she and her family were unaware of the dangers, but following her nephew’s “huffing” death in 2015 she established a foundation called “Save Lives 35.”
She spends her time spreading the word about inhalant and drug abuse, bullying and just about anything that threatens the well being of young people.
Triche says her nephew was a teen who made a fatal decision to try something his friends told him was harmless – just like inhaling helium from a balloon – but it wasn’t.
Triche says, “he would still be here if someone would have just warned us.”