Lincoln Police are warning parents and business owners about a string of thefts they believe are tied to teens huffing aerosols.
In the last two weeks, officers have taken several reports of juveniles using air horns to get high. The method of ingestion, known as “huffing” is a process in which individuals release the chemicals from the air horn in a confined space and inhale them. Authorities say recently, kids have been purchasing and/or shoplifting air horns from sporting goods stores and the sporting goods departments of other retailers, then “huffing” them.
Police want the public to know that huffing is not harmless and that individuals who huff, risk permanent physical damage and even death. LPD officers responded to a huffing incident in the last week in which a juvenile was hospitalized because of huffing.
Police offered some tips to curbing huffing and how to spot the signs that someone may have inhaled chemicals through huffing.
Signs of inhalant abuse or “huffing” include:
- Paint or chemical smell on clothing, skin, or breath
- Stains from paints, solvents, or other chemicals on the hands or face
- Slurred speech
- Acting drunk or disoriented
- Loss of inhibition or motor coordination
- Exhausted or fatigued for several hours without cause
- Drowsiness or nodding off during conversation
- Nausea or vomiting
- “Glue sniffer’s rash,” found around the nose or mouth
- Hiding paraphernalia like used rags, tissues, bags, and empty cans
What can parents, teachers, and schools do?
- Be on the lookout for symptoms of huffing (above)
- Be on the lookout for empty air horn cans, as well as other empty aerosol canisters, such as glue, dry-cleaning fluids, whipped cream, and other aerosols, as well as huffing paraphernalia.
- Be on the lookout for unusual sounds (such as air horns, aerosol cans) coming from bathrooms, cars, and other confined spaces
- Report incidents immediately to law enforcement
- Treat these incidents as possible medical episodes and be ready to call for emergency medical services
What measures should businesses, especially sporting goods stores, take?
- Reduce access to air horns and other aerosols
- Report all shoplifts immediately to law enforcement