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March 22, 2006

Good Morning America Segment on Computer Dusting Abuse

ABC News

Abc_david_1

Drug High From 'Dusting' is Fatal for One Teen

Kids Inhale Gas From Cans of Computer Dusting Spray to Get High

March 22, 2006 — - 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.

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

  • 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 

March 22, 2006 at 11:55 AM in The Journey | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 20, 2006

A Random Act Of Courage

She came into the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting from the back door, slid quietly into a chair at the far end of the room with her head slumped deep between her shoulders.  Her long brown hair flowed down her back from under a sweat stained baseball cap, her demin jacket and blue jeans sagging to match the emotions as if she carried the weight of the world.  She was all of 18 or 19, her name was Rachelle and before she spoke a word everyone knew she was back to begin again, an addict who had spent some more time out in her own heart of darkness. 

As a recovering alcoholic I have never cared much for the phrase “starting over “ when one relapses, believing instead that you actually pick up where you left off; and that all the tools of recovery you gained in previous treatment programs are not only still valid but still knocking around somewhere in the dark recesses of your mind. The topic was the 12th Step and when it came time for Rachel to share she passed as everyone had expected.  But as the sharing went on each person in the room had a least a few words of encouragement or humor for her.  Eventually her shoulders relaxed and at one point I actually saw the hint of a smile move fleetingly across her lips.

By the time the meeting was over the warmth that flowed from the sharing of each circle member had melted the icy fear that had frozen her when she first arrived.  Rachel emerged as the most important person in the room that night, not because she had relapsed and was beginning again but because of the simple brave act of coming back.  An act of humility, an act of selflessness but not of kindness, a reminder to us all that we are only one drink or drug away...a random act of courage.   

March 20, 2006 at 03:16 PM in The Journey | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 14, 2006

Every House An Inhalant House

From the beginning we have never shied away from the fact that the cause of our son’s death was substance abuse and addiction.  We have also been forthright that the manner of his death was drowning after inhaling the propellant from a can of computer duster bringing on Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome (SSDS). 

March 19th, 2006 begins National Inhalant and Poisons Awareness week, which is an annual opportunity to highlight the ubiquitous nature of inhalant products, the deadly consequences of abusing inhalants and poisons, honoring those who struggle with inhalant abuse, and remembering those who have died from SSDS. 

For some time the scourge of crack cocaine has often been measured by the number of “Crack Houses” identified and busted in the United States.  In recent years we have begun to chronicle the rise of the methamphetamine epidemic in our country by the number of “Meth Labs” identified and busted.  But while we talk of the number of crack houses and meth labs as barometers of the scope of these problems it is important to remember that when talk about inhalant abuse:

Every House Is An Inhalant House

March 14, 2006 at 02:12 PM in The Journey | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 12, 2006

The Abandoned Golf Course

The clouds hung low over the bleak farm fields, leaking their rain on this cold dreary afternoon in Indiana.  It’s the kind of day I hate where the damp hangs heavily on my shoulders like a wet wool sweater weighing down my soul and my mind as I journey home.  The droplets of light rain collect on my windshield until they form small ponds that turn to rivulets flowing upwards as I accelerate away from the stoplight. My route home today is one that I don’t often take since it is habitually filled with sorrow and trepidation.  It takes me past a memory…a place where spirits of happier times haunt and echoes of laughter and joy hang as thick as the mist on this late…soggy afternoon. 

The golf course is abandoned and deserted now, the fairways overgrown, the greens indistinguishable from the fallow fields that surround them.  It was never much of a course, just a mom and pop operation run on a shoe string where you never knew if your electric cart would make it to the first green, let alone carry you to the other seventeen. A tee time was never required and you never had to play with anyone you did not know.  So for a casual golfer like me and a son who had found a new game to love, one that he excelled at, it was the perfect place for us to be together.  We played there many times, special memories for a father…memories that are still special and painful all at the same time…part of the new reality that is my world now.  When the golf course closed a couple of years after Dave died I felt as if a part of me closed too; as it has become overgrown with time so have my memories. 

But today as I drove past in the spitting rain with the mist hanging heavy, a hawk swam in the sky above me; it flew over the old course and then over me as I drove past.  And as it did I felt my heart lifted up with each beat of his wings.  And for today the spirits of the past did not haunt my memories but caressed them… caressed them with the memory of his soft hands and his strong arms.  Special memories.

March 12, 2006 at 09:36 PM in The Journey | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 04, 2006

Blindside

The parking lot of the church was packed as one would expect for an Easter service except it was the middle of the afternoon on a Friday in early March.  When we walked through the door we immediately were at the back of a long line of people which snaked through the lobby and the turned sharply left into a large unremarkable meeting hall. The men were dressed alike in the same dark business suits, their wives in muted colored outfits, the teenage girls in unrevealing attire for a change as the teenage boys shifted uncomfortably in seldom worn suites tugging at their shirt collars in the strangle hold of unfamiliar neckties.

We quietly stood our turn chatting softly as we waited to express our condolences to the family at the other end of the line.  A couple we had met many months earlier, a mother and father who two days before had begun the journey that we began almost five years ago, reluctant members of this club that no parent ever wants to join; parents who have lost a child to substance abuse.

We came not only because of the shared experience but rather for what others had done for us years ago in our greatest hour of need.   Others who had walked this path before, whose strength showed us that there is recovery from the “worst loss” a parent can endure, that joy does return and that hope is never lost. We stood patiently, had our brief but intensely emotional moments with Mom and Dad and then moved to the church’s sanctuary to be with friends and wait for the service to begin. 

When we had first arrived I had entered the church confident of my intentions knowing that there were likely to be few in attendance who fully understood and could appreciate their grief the way I could.  But as I sat in the sanctuary lost in my thoughts, the confidence slowly dissolved as memory took hold of me, transporting me back in time to another church where I sat in the front with Dave’s casket at the alter.  It came first in that visceral ache that starts deep inside growing in intensity and spreading throughout my being enfolding my heart and my mind until my eyes refused to obey and the tears began to flow.

And by the time the service was done, it was me that needed the support…needed the strength, needed the promise of hope and the return of joy…a reminder that I am just a memory away from being right back there in the heart of darkness that is loss.

March 4, 2006 at 12:30 PM in The Journey | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack