Sunday, September 03, 2006

Going for the Gold

A friend of mine at work has a brother in the Maricopa Sheriff’s Department. For some reason we were talking about drug arrests and how on occasion his brother will occasionally find a homeless person sprawled out on a grassy median face up to the sky with a gold smile.

It turns out that huffing paint is back and that the authorities are seeing more and more people abusing chemical inhalants. After all, it’s cheap and relatively easy to get. Unless you try to go back into the hardware store immediately after you huff a can of Krylon.

The process is simple; the user sprays the paint into a plastic bag, cups the bag around their mouth and breathes in the sprayed mist that is in the bag.
No roach clip, lighter, spoons, elastic band or other accoutrements needed.

The difference here is when someone is abusing chemicals through huffing there are some tell tale signs:

• Drunk or disoriented appearance

• Paint or other stains on face, hands, or clothing

• Hidden empty spray paint or solvent containers and chemical-soaked rags or clothing

• Slurred speech

• Strong chemical odors on breath or clothing

• Nausea or loss of appetite

• Red or runny nose

• Sores or rash around the nose or mouth

It turns out that Gold and Silver paint contains a higher amount of toluene in the mix that yields a maximum high. Unfortunately the user ends up with the telltale signature gold circle imprint from where they had the bag around their mouths.

Whereas an alcoholic or smoker may be able to temporarily hide their addiction with a box of Altoids a huffer would need a can of acetone. “Honey, you smell like acetone. Have you been huffing again?”

I’ll stick to beer.

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