BATESVILLE, Ark. — A warning from police in Batesville over a dangerous high more people are getting from a household cleaner. In the past month officers have seen a spike in calls involving people huffing air dusters.
Huffing air dusters isn’t a new problem, but it’s the last thing Stephanie Moore expected to see while running errands.
“I was sitting in the Walmart parking lot getting ready to leave and there were several teenagers in a vehicle huffing,” she explained.
As a counselor at Absolute Recovery Center, Moore deals with addiction every day but says in this case she was thinking as a mom.
“They were huffing directly out of the can,” she said. “I had my children with me so I called police.”
Calls like that keep coming into the Batesville Police Department. In a two week stretch officers were called to 5 huffing incidents. Police reports show one call was for a 63-year old man huffing while he was driving, another was for a 13-year-old huffing in a Walmart bathroom who kept inhaling the cleaner in front of officers.
Lt. Kyle Williford says he’s concerned people don’t realize how dangerous the chemicals are when they inhale them. Last year Lt. Williford was called to a fatal huffing overdose.
“We found him deceased, he still had the air duster in his hand up to his mouth,” Lt. Williford explained.
Since cans of air duster line the shelves of many stores, police are asking people to be on the lookout.
“Who knows how many lives they saved by calling and letting us know,” Lt. Williford added.
It’s a problem Moore knows isn’t going away overnight.
“It’s sad, very sad.” she said. Moore hopes more people will read the warning labels, before they pick up a can.
Huffing can also land you in jail or paying hefty fines. Depending on the circumstance Batesville police will suggest charges ranging from driving under the influence to one for breathing or inhaling an intoxicating substance.