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Watch out for your kid’s dusting activity

By Corrie Lynn Player

Jan. 11, 2018

 

Nope, this column isn’t about monitoring your kid’s helping around the house.

It’s about a deadly fad among kids, especially those between the ages of 8 and 18, even good kids who proudly wear their “D.A.R.E.” buttons.

A couple of months ago, a man named Jeff wrote my Moms of Teens group about discovering his 15-year-old son, Kyle, dead in his basement bedroom. This son had the straw of a container of Dust Off in his mouth.

Jeff was a police officer for a city known nationwide for its crime rate and worked with a K-9 drug-sniffing dog, Thor. Thor was wounded in the line of duty and retired to live with Jeff and his family.

Jeff said he kept Thor in practice and was happy in the knowledge that drugs couldn’t be smuggled into his house. Jeff said he and his wife constantly talked to their children about the dangers of drugs and to guard against drugs.

He thought they were protected.

Kyle’s autopsy showed only Dust Off in his system—no other legal or illegal drugs.

Jeff found out from Kyle’s best friend that a boy who lived down the street from them showed Kyle how to “dust” about month before his death. Kyle told his friend, “It’s just compressed air, and it can’t hurt you and it feels great!” His friend wisely said, “No.”

Jeff did some investigating because neither he nor his wife, who’s a nurse, had ever heard about the activity.

He found out that Dust Off gives a slight high for 10 seconds and makes the user dizzy, but it’s not just “compressed air.” It contains a propellant that’s like a refrigerant used in air conditioners. It’s a heavy gas, so it fills lungs and keeps oxygen out, which is why kids feel dizzy and buzzed.

Unfortunately, users have no warning about an overdose.

It doesn’t accumulate, and users don’t have physical warning symptoms, as with street drugs or alcohol.

Also, unlike many “huffing” products, Dust Off has no odor and leaves no telltale signs, which is why Thor didn’t discover it.

It can easily kill the first time—or the second or the third or any time.

And too many kids who don’t die think they’re safe, because not much conversation has gone on about it.

One of the moms in my group replied to Jeff’s posting, “My daughter and a friend of hers used this stuff a couple of years ago. Thank goodness nothing happened to either of them. When I found out what they had done, I researched the issue and showed my daughter exactly what can happen to you by doing this. What it can do to your brain if it doesn’t kill you—the whole scenario. It was enough to scare her into reality.”

Another mother said her daughter told her that “her entire middle school was aware of it and were doing it on a frequent basis, even at school. She said she called the school which denied that kids would be able to ‘dust’ anywhere near the building.”

Even kids who know better than to “huff” fumes from markers or paint thinner can be tempted by something so prosaic as high pressure air used to clean keyboards and innards of computers.

Jeff’s closing words were, “If I would have known about this stuff earlier, then it wouldn’t have been in my house. Using Dust Off isn’t new, and some professionals do know about it. It just isn’t talked about much, except by the kids. They seem to know about it.”

This police officer asks everyone to forward this warning to everyone in their address book, even law enforcement people.

Thankfully, the makers of Dust Off have added a bitterant to it, which now makes it quite unpalatable.

Go online and read for yourself why Jeff is so inconsolable and is on such a crusade since 2005 when his son died.

If you have children or grandchildren in the later grades of elementary school or in middle or high school, talk to them about “getting high.”

Explain that dizziness and odd sensations are their brain indicating something is wrong.

And tell them Kyle’s story.