Drug High From 'Dusting' Is Fatal for One Teen

David Manlove was everything a parent could wish for -- a happy, healthy boy who loved his family and excelled in sports.

"He was just a great kid," said his father, Kim Manlove. "Warmly affectionate and loved to hug."

But as he got older, the Indianapolis teen began experimenting with drugs and alcohol. His drug use eventually got to a point that his brother, Josh, grew concerned.

"I said to my parents, 'OK, look, you need to do something about this.This is something that goes outside the normal high school experimentation kind of thing,'" Josh told "Good Morning America."

David's parents got David into treatment, and he seemed to respond well -- or so they thought. But David had started "dusting," a drug trend that proved fatal for him.

What Is Dusting?

Dusting is inhaling, or "huffing," pressurized gas from a can of computer dusting spray to get high. Experts say it has grown more popular because it's cheap and readily available.

Kids put the straw from the can into their mouth and inhale as they spray the contents. That spray contains freon, which pushes oxygen out of the lungs and can cause a mini stroke or heart attack.

One in five teens say they have used inhalants by eighth grade. Using inhalants to get high goes by the names of "huffing," "sniffing" or "dusting," depending on what's being used. Common inhalants include glue, correction fluid, paint, shoe polish and gasoline or aerosols sprayed on a cloth.

Dusting, like other inhalant abuse, can be extremely dangerous. When a high-speed car wreck killed three teenage boys in Sacramento, Calif., a dusting can was found in the vehicle.

In Ohio a desperate mother called 911 after she found her son passed out after dusting: "This an emergency. My son has a can of, I don't know what it is. He's blue and he's discolored."

David Manlove's mother, Marissa, said David had probably started using dusters as early as a month after he started treatment for drug abuse.

David was hanging out at a friend's house last summer when Marissa got a frantic phone call.

"Josh and I rushed over to the house," she said. "They were wheeling him on a gurney. They were coming down the driveway, and I noticed that his feet were blue."

David had been dusting and jumped into the swimming pool, trying to intensify the high, but something went terribly wrong. David's body went into cardiac arrest. His first reaction was to inhale, but he took in water instead, said his family.

He was rushed to the hospital, but he couldn't be resuscitated.

"I was trying to think how in the world am I going to tell my husband what just happened?" Marissa said. "You know, it's a blur and yet there are moments forever etched in my memory."

David was gone at only 16, but the Manloves are determined to see that he didn't die in vain. They want to educate other families about the dangers of dusting and, they hope, save lives.

"If this can happen to us, it can happen to you," Marissa said. "It can happen to anyone."

Tips for Parents

March 19 - 25 is National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week.

Dr. Ron Zodkevitch, a child psychiatrist and author of "The Toughlove Prescription: How to Create and Enforce Boundaries with Your Teen," gave parents some tips for recognizing and talking to kids about dusting.

Recognizing Dusting

A swollen tongue that almost looks like frostbite. Some kids complain of numbness to their tongue or vocal chords.

Blood-shot eyes, looking dazed or disorganized.

Kids looking for empty cans, or you may notice cans missing.

How to Confront Your Kids

Zodkevitch says there are three main motivators for kids to use drugs: boredom, peer pressure and to escape confrontation.

He said you need to figure out and fix the motivating factors.

Set limits and enforce them. If your kids are using drugs, you can't leave them alone in the house.

Be aware of what's going on, and get support from other parents.

Tell kids they can die the first time they try dusting.

For more information, visit the National Inhalants Prevention Coalition or The Pathway Family Center (www.pathwayfamilycenter.org).

Comments