is an actual email sent out by a parent shortly after his son died from
experimenting with inhalants. The Police Officer continues to advocate
for education about inhalants and has appeared on CNN. His efforts have
influenced how the manufacturer of Dust Off packages the product.
Unfortunately, it was too late for his own son.
I'm going to tell you that my name is Jeff. I am a Police Officer for a
city known nationwide for it's crime rate. We have a lot of gangs and
drugs. At one point we were #2 in the nation in homicides per capita. I
also have a police K9 named Thor. He was certified in drugs and general
duty. He retired at 3 years old because he was shot in the line of duty.
He lives with us now and I still train with him because he likes it. I
always liked the fact that there was no way to bring drugs into my
house. Thor wouldn't allow it. He would tell on you. The reason I say
this is so you understand that I know about drugs.
I have taught
in schools about drugs. My wife asks all our kids at least once a week
if they used any drugs and makes them promise they won't. I like
building computers occasionally and started building a new one in
I also was working on some of my older computers.
They were full of dust so on one of my trips to the computer store I
bought a 3-pack of DUST OFF. Dust Off is a can of compressed air to blow
dust off a computer. A few weeks later when I went to use one of them,
they were all used. I talked to my kids and my two sons both said they
had used them on their computer and messing around with them. I yelled
at them for wasting the 10 dollars I paid for them.
On Feb. 28, I
went back to the computer store. They didn't have the 3 pack which I
had bought on sale so I bought a single jumbo can of Dust Off. I went
home and set it down beside my computer.
On March 1. I left for
work at 10:00 p.m. Just before midnight my wife went down and kissed
Kyle goodnight. At 5:30 a.m. the next morning Kathy went downstairs to
wake Kyle up for school before she left for work. He was propped up in
bed with his legs crossed and his head leaning over. She called to him a
few times to get up. He didn't move. He would sometimes tease her like
this and pretend he fell back asleep. He was never easy to get up. She
went in and shook his arm. He fell over. He was pale white and had the
straw from the Dust Off can coming out of his mouth. He had the new can
of Dust Off in his hands. Kyle was dead.
I am a police officer
and I had never heard of this. My wife is a nurse and she had never
heard of this. We later found out from the coroner, after the autopsy,
that only the propellant from the can of Dust off was in his system. No
other drugs. Kyle had died between midnight and 1:00 a.m.
out that using Dust Off is being done mostly by kids between the ages
of 9 through 15. They even have a name for it. It's called "dusting." A
take off from the Dust Off name. It gives them a slight high for about
10 seconds. It makes them dizzy.
A boy who lives down the street
from us showed Kyle how to do this about a month before. Kyle showed
his best friend. Told him it was cool and it couldn't hurt you. It's
just compressed air. It can't hurt you. His best friend said "no."
was wrong. It's not just compressed air. It also contains a propellant
called R2. R2 is a refrigerant like what is used in your refrigerator.
It is a heavy gas, heavier than air. When you inhale it, it fills your
lungs with chemicals and keeps the good air, with oxygen, out. That's
why you feel dizzy, buzzed. It decreases the oxygen to your brain and to
your heart. Kyle was right. It can't hurt you. It kills you.
Kids should know that inhaling anything from an aerosol can can be
dangerous because of the chemical product used as the propellant.
horrible part about this is there is no warning. There is no level that
kills you. It's not cumulative or an overdose; it can just go randomly,
terribly wrong. Roll the dice and if your number comes up you die. It's not an overdoese.
It's Russian Roulette. Instant death. You don't die later. Or you don't
have the chance to feel different and say "I've had too much." You
usually die as you're breathing it in. If not, you die within two
seconds of finishing "the hit."
That's why the straw was still
in Kyle's mouth when he died. Why his eyes were still open. The experts
want to call this huffing. The kids don't believe its huffing. As adults
we tend to lump many things together. But "dusting" doesn't fit here.
That's why it ' s more accepted. There is no chemical reaction, no
strong odor. It doesn't follow the huffing signals. Kyle complained a
few days before he died of his tongue hurting. It probably did. The
propellant causes frostbite. If I had only known.
It's easy to
say hey, it's my life and I'll do what I want. But it isn't. Others are
always affected. This has forever changed our family's life. I have a
hole in my heart and soul that can never be fixed. The pain is so
immense I can't describe it. There's nowhere to run from it. I cry all
the time and I don't ever cry. I do what I'm supposed to do but I don't
really care. My other two kids are messed up. One won't talk about it.
The other will only sleep in our room at night. And my wife, I can't
even describe how bad she is taking this. I thought we were safe because
of Thor. I thought we were safe because we knew about drugs and talked
to our kids about them.
After Kyle died another story came out. A
probation Officer went to the school system next to ours to speak with a
student. While there he found a student using Dust Off in the bathroom.
This student told him about another student who also had some in his
locker. This is a rather affluent school system. They will tell you they
don't have a drug problem there. They don't even have a D.A.R.E or plus
So rather than tell everyone about this "new" way
of getting high that they found, they hid it. The probation officer
told the media after Kyle's death and then the school admitted to it. I
know that if they would have told the media and I had heard, it wouldn't
have been in my house.
We need to get this product out of our
homes and school computer labs. Using Dust Off isn't new and some
"professionals" know about. It just isn't talked about much, except by
the kids. They all seem to know about it.
April 2 was one
month since Kyle died. April 5 would have been his 15th birthday. And
every weekday I catch myself sitting on the living room couch at 2:30
p.m. in the afternoon and waiting to see him get off the bus. I know
Kyle is in heaven but I can' t help but wonder If I died and went to