Monday, October 27, 2008

Bring It Home

I refuse to give up on the 2008 Rays.  Rays Index documents the many other Brinks Of Elimination the Rays have teetered upon this season.  Granted, this is the highest brink upon which they have teetered. If they can follow the Skipper's advice and pull off three consecutive one game streaks, they will have jewel encrusted ring fingers on Opening Day 2009.  One hit, one pitch, one catch, one throw and one win at a time.  Bring it home to the Trop Tampa Bay.


Switching gears, I'm taking advantage of the swell in readership during the World Series
 to raise awareness of a deadly practice in the hope that it might save the life of someone you love.
'With 22% of 6th and 8th graders admitting to abusing inhalants, but only 3% of parents thinking their child has ever abused inhalants – it is clear that this generation of pre-teens and especially their parents have a lot to learn about the lethal nature of inhalant abuse.'
– Stephen J. Pasireb, President and CEO, The Partnership for a Drug-Free America

This week I received the news that my cousin died of inhalant abuse. "Huffing" or "bagging", as it's commonly known.  In an effort to understand how my cousin could have died this way, I learned that inhalant abuse is actually very common among pre-teens and teenagers. Their access to household chemicals such as Dust-Off, butane, nail polish remover, cooking sprays or even permanent markers makes them ripe for experimentation.  Inhalants can be lethal the first time they're used and they are often a pre-teen's first experience with risk taking behavior and abuse. Mark, age 35, was not a typical abuser but we can learn from his tragedy and become better informed parents, neighbors and friends. 

Mark's path to inhalants did not begin with teen peer pressure.  More likely, it began with a painkiller dependancy.  He was on a helitack firefighting crew in Grand Canyon National Park when his helicopter crash landed, leaving him with a back injury and a a life of chronic pain. Unable to fight fires any longer Mark, a man of faith, followed a calling to serve another way. He moved to Texas and began working with Casas Por Cristo an organization which builds homes for the needy in Juarez, Mexico. Somewhere along this path, to deal with his pain, Mark developed an addiction to Vicodin. The abuse of Dust-off began after he went thru clinical detox to get off the Vicodin. He said that he suffered from extreme anxiety after quitting Vicodin, and the Dust-Off allowed him to "check out" and avoid the anxiety. His family intervened, enrolling him in rehab, but Mark checked himself out of the program knowing this addiction  would likely kill him.  Last week, Mark was found dead in a shopping center parking lot sitting in his truck with several cans of Dust-Off (compressed air) in the seat beside him. 

Here are a few useful links I discovered trying to learn more about the issue. This link highlights warning signs such as chemical odors on breath or clothing, paint stains on the face, hands or clothes, and other physical signs of huffing.  And, according to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, "if you talk to your kids about the risks of drugs, they are 36% less likely to abuse an Inhalant." Here are some talking points to help you have an age appropriate discussion with your kids.

Please take a minute to look at this information.  Your kid may not be one of the 20% that experiment with inhalants, but someone they know... perhaps well... most certainly is.

1 comment:

  1. Good info PTownFan, even if you know your kids are not huffing, you should know how to recognize it. They could be.......


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