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Huffing Targeted During Poison Prevention Week

Today marks the beginning of National Poison Prevention Week. Statistics show the one out of every five Oklahoma students has sniffed some form of household chemical to get high. It's a silent killer that could strike in your home.

News on Six reporter Patrina Adger spoke with a Broken Arrow father who says one common household product killed his son. Thomas Kaye, Victim's Father: "You try not to look and make sure you miss the obvious but in retrospect, the obvious wasn't obvious."

Thomas Kaye thought he knew his 15 year old son, Brad. Brad was a good student and star athlete in both baseball and soccer. Ten years ago- Brad came home one afternoon after spending the day with friends.

Thomas Kaye, Brad's father: "He collapsed after he got out of the car..he had been doing some butane that they got from the local store. He took about 3 steps and he collapsed"

They rushed him to Saint Francis hospital, where he later died. Thomas Kaye, Brad's father: I couldn't imagine my son who is bright, athletic, well-liked why he would do something like this We missed the signs."

So how can you tell if your kid abuses inhalants? Look for slurred or disoriented speech, do they appear drunk, dazed or dizzy, do they have red eyes and a runny nose, are there spots around their mouth, or signs of paint on their hands and face.

Tulsa Police Officer Ken Cooper says 1st and Boston near downtown is where many older huffers in their their thirties and forties get high.
"Usually huffing paint from coke bottles or carburetor fluid which has an intoxicating fluid in it. If they're intoxicated enough from the fluid we take them to detox"

Cooper says he sees the affects inhalants have on older huffers, slurred speech and eventually brain damage. "It can damage the lungs, cause lungs scarring, goes to blood stream and liver and kidneys, and then eventually to your brain. A quick shock, all in a matter of seconds. It may not happen the first time or the second time, but it will happen"

Since his son's death ten years ago - Thomas Kaye has visited schools all over Green Country educating kids on the dangers of inhalant abuse.

There are more than a thousand household and school products currently used as inhalants, and kids can easily get their hands on them.

So, what can parents do to protect their children???

The best protection is information, explain that inhalants are not drugs, that could glamorize them. Tell kids inhalants are deadly chemicals and poisons, but don't tell them what products are commonly huffed.

Operation Aware teaches students how to make positive decisions. They have interactive programs that deal with substance abuse. To get them to your child's school - call their office at 582-7884.

If you fear your child is already abusing inhalants, the Palmer Drug Abuse program works with chemically-dependant young people - their local numbers are 832-7763 and 425-0771.
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