Dangers of Propane Huffing

Leon County drug agents are sending a warning tonight about the danger of inhalants.

A Tallahassee man is still in the burn unit at Tampa General, investigators think he blew up his family's home while inhaling propane.

Investigators say the problem of inhalants doesn't appear to be on the rise, but it's a dangerous way to get high, and it's particularly popular among teen-agers.

Fire investigators say propane caused the explosion at a home near Lake Jackson last month. And their investigation indicates Chris Somerset was using propane in an attempt to get high.

Authorities say other inhalants are more common, but they can all be dangerous and occasionally deadly.

Chris Somerset was taken to Tampa General the evening of the explosion, and we understand he has remained there, still in critical condition ever since.

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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.