Last week, a homeless person in Lancaster, Ohio spontaneously went into flames after police used a taser on him. The police were first called to a Kmart parking at about 8pm as it had been reported that a man (Daniel Wood, 31) was huffing from an aerosol can and running into traffic. He was yelling at a crowd of people. The officers tried to control him, but he wouldn’t cooperate and was kicking and biting them, and continuing to try to inhale more from the aerosol can. Then, one of the officers used the taser on him. The officer saw a flame ignite, and they then shut off the taser and with the help of the other officer, put out the flame. The now victim was then handcuffed and medical treatment was requested. He was then arrested for resisting arrest and for drug abuse charges.
What are inhalants? Inhalants can be volatile solvents (things like paint thinner, glue, etc. that vaporize at room temperature), aerosols, gases, household/commercial products like lighters and propane tanks, and nitrites (sexual enhancers, commonly known as “poppers”). When people inhale these substances it is known as “huffing”. The effects of inhalants are actually similar to those of alcohol, having slurred speech, lack of coordination, euphoria, dizziness, etc. People may also experience hallucinations, lightheadedness, and delusions. As the become more addicted to it, they become less inhibited and less in control of their life, like with most substance abuse. Some more serious irreversible effects can include hearing loss, limb spasms, brain damage, and bone marrow damage. Some serious but reversible side effects include liver & kidney damage and blood oxygen depletion. I get queezy as I write this.
Coincidentally, I recently watched an old episode of one of my favorite shows on A&E, Intervention. On this show, there are some pretty incredible stories of people suffering from various addictions and it shows how it affects their family and friends as their world spirals out of control. Most of the time the addiction is alcohol, heroine, or something along those lines. But, Allison’s story was about inhalants and I found how it affected her to be quite disturbing. It was almost like she was possessed and it was LITERALLY sucking the life out of her.. Inhalants can cause sudden death via heart failure and 30% of deaths from inhalants occur on the first use.