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Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi all,
I've been reading stories of those who have been huffing dust-off and other inhalants.  The reason I joined was to see what other parents and addicts are going through. This might be long, so I apologize for that already.
My daughter is 26 yrs old.  She has been curious about drugs and their use for many years...starting off with weed when she was in high school. She's done coke, ecstacy, tried heroin and dabbled with other stuff over the years. I have joined other addiction forums, but they really didn't pertain to my daughter's problem with duster.  She's a smart girl, great looks, friendly, outgoing, but she's got an addiction problem...and she admits it. Problem is, she lies to protect her addiction and has been lying for quite a while. I don't believe anything she says anymore, as I know it's all lies...and that's what addicts do. They lie to cover up their use.  Anyway, a couple yrs ago she was arrested for a DUI. Was smoking weed a couple hrs before driving and cop said she was going too slow on the parkway...she was actually arguing with her bf at the time and not paying attention, but that's neither here or there. He was a heroin addict and being with him, she "tried" that.  Fast forward, got probation, had to do drug counseling, attend classes. Those classes ended in March of this year.  She continued doing duster because it doesn't show up in drug tests.  We have caught her several times. All the while she swears she will quit by herself, doesn't need help, etc. It never happens.  She has a good relationship with her probation officer (or should I say "had")  The beginning of this week when she told me she was with her friends, she was actually in the parking lot of a CVS a few towns away, in the back seat with God knows how many cans of duster.  Someone saw her, called the police and the medics. She was unresponsive.  She came to, and they took her to a nearby hospital, held her there for a few hrs and she told them what she used.  It's not illegal, but her name came up in a database and the report ended up on her probation officer's desk. He came to the house, told me and my husband. Now he wants her back in a drug program and wants to see her once a week instead of once a month. I think that is a blessing, actually. I might add after using duster a few times back, she was in total pain in her kidneys. She was throwing up. We didn't know what the problem took her to the hospital. They said infection. Then another time using it, she came home with her face swollen...back to the hospital. They said cellulitis from a bug bite, but now it all makes sense. She was doing duster and something must have caused her cheek to swell. She looked like a monster for days...oozing, blistering, swelling, left eye closed.  Then just recently again she complained about pains in her kidneys. She wanted to go back to the hospital. I asked: Did you do duster again? She answered yes.  So I dropped her off, she told the doctors what she did, but they didn't react much...just said it's dangerous.  I know it affects your kidneys, liver and brain.  She always swears that's enough...but it never is. I am happy to read that so many have kicked the habit.  Praying she can too.  


Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #2 
I am so sorry that your daughter has fallen into this addiction. I can tell that you have educated yourself enough to appreciate the seriousness of the situation. As you have been reading through posts on this site, you've probably come across more than one story where the power of this addiction is said to surpass that of even the most notoriously addictive substances. For example, “I have helped a number of friends kick heroin, meth, pills, … Lost a few to over doses. I have NEVER seen anything like this...this is the worst addiction I have ever seen...”

In my own case: I told you that I wanted to stop, i gave you my car keys and my wallet to hide them from me, i attended a meeting every day and got a sponsor, I prayed, I enrolled myself in treatment. In all of this I was nothing but sincere. But what I was not was in charge. Stopping was a decision that was scarcely mine to make. I managed to escape only through the unlikeliest quirk of fate.

The condition you saw on your daughter's face. I had the exact same thing on my forearm, matches your description to a T. It's frostbite due to that part of the skin resting in contact with the super-frozen can while we're unconscious and we don't feel the pain so we don't withdraw from the frozen metal. The substances in dusters are very close chemical kin to what they use for general anaesthesia in surgery. I have permanent scarring from it, an area about 3 x 6 inches (picture below). I learned to slide the can into a thick sock at the beginning of a session. The can gets cold as it dispenses due to a law of physics. The longer it dispenses uninterrupted the colder it gets. We pass out with our finger holding the trigger down and it can stay that way and continue dispensing while we are unconscious, in which case the can gets far, far colder than would ever happen in normal use. A friend who sat with me observed this occurring (it wasn't when I got the frostbite, I was alone for that one). I also experienced pain in my kidneys and tremors.

It is not my intention to stifle hope; that is the last thing I would want. I only want to reinforce what you already know, that this is about as serious as it gets. I think it is important, because, as you are seeing, this addiction does not enjoy much “respect”, nor is it well understood, even by medical professionals, nor, alas, by most addiction specialists.

I wish I could give you step-by-step instructions. Unfortunately, there is no surefire remedy. From what I've seen, each recovery is unique. Steel yourself for battle. Be clear-eyed about conventional methods, and the success rates thereof. Be cautiously open-minded about alternatives. Consider combinations of methods. Recognize that recovery may be facilitated by some factor out of left field.

I hope and pray for your daughter’s recovery.

There is hope. We do recover.

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Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #3 
Thank you for taking the time to reply. I read your reply to my daughter. She needs to know there are others in the same boat. This is an embarrassing addiction for her. She said it's not the norm being heroin, meth, coke, etc. That so many do. She feels she's so alone in this, but all ages do this also, as I told her from reading the forum. All walks of life, many professional people with families, money, homes etc. All are victims.


Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #4 

You're exactly right that duster abuse strikes people from a wide variety of walks of life, etc.  One of the misconceptions about it is that it is primarily a middle-school kids thing. I'm a professional, and I was around 46 years old when it started.  I was surprised, and a little relieved, when I started researching online and found stories of many others of a similar profile to my own. A few examples from the headlines: Frederick Wunker, a medical doctor, Chad Thomas, a police chief, and Chris Symington, a college football coach, all middle-aged men of some stature who made the news due to their duster addictions.

I understand what she means about it not being the norm. In my travels in recovery, it's rare to meet anyone who claims duster as a DOC, or even something they've struggled with. People either have no idea what it is, or they think it's kidstuff or the last resort of desperados.

Would she be in treatment or meetings with people she already knows?  For me, they were all strangers (to start out), so I never felt like much was at stake. And to be fair, I'm kinda used to being an oddball anyway [crazy]. Still, I had some apprehension about it.

In NA, naming substances is officially taboo when sharing in meetings, so one can easily participate at that level without feeling the least bit of pressure to specify. Even when chatting informally (where the taboo is not so strictly observed), I was able to keep it generic, and only ever told my sponsor. I have a good friend in NA whose substance is alcohol, and he also keeps it generic, and I’m pretty sure no one knows he’s “only” an alcoholic (except probably his sponsor, and myself, because I knew him before NA). And he’s super-social with the NA people outside meetings.  At the beginning of most any NA meeting you’ll find, they recite, “We’re not interested in what or how much you used….” I think they mostly live by that, but of course, you can find hypocrites anywhere. Different NA groups do have somewhat different personalities, and it may be more of a risk at some groups than others.

In group sessions in treatment, I named my substance either the first or second session, and I was a little nervous about it, but, again, I didn’t know any of them going in, and I had a reasonable expectation that I'd never have to see any of them on the outside unless I chose to. The outcome for me in that group was fine - I never felt that anyone there disrespected me or my addiction.

There were three times I was actually really glad that I'd been open about it.  One was a woman I was in treatment with, who was officially there for alcoholism.  She confided in me, though, that she'd also had a brief “fling” with duster. She was a nurse, and she's the one who first told me about it being so closely related to anesthetics used in medical practice.  She said they even smell similar. Anyway, it helped me because I knew someone in there really understood, and we became supports for each other. It was a point of connection that drew us together. Second time was in a SMART Recovery meeting, I gave my nutshell story during the check-in, and there was an older couple who were there about their son (who I think was in his 20s), who’d had a really bad alcohol problem for many years and was taking antabuse, and so he started doing duster since he wasn't able to drink.  I talked to them after the meeting, and shared about my experience. They haven’t been back, but at least they had a chance to meet someone who understood, and maybe I gave them some hope. I always wish we had exchanged phone numbers. Third time, on another internet forum (not inhalant-specific), I told my story about it, and several people responded that I had raised their consciousness on the subject.

I guess my summary on this is that the concern she has is very real, and there’s even some possibility of it becoming an obstacle. I’ve seen where some duster addicts have said they felt like they weren’t taken seriously, or maybe even treated with disdain in support(!) groups and such, even to the point of dropping out. Recommendations: maybe choose your NA groups carefully, keep it generic as long as possible and once you've established connections with people who care, they're not likely to turn on you, and remember that being open can turn out to be a positive thing for yourself and maybe someone else. I never had any problems about it.  YMMV.



Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #5 
Hi Blue Rider.....I agree, it's interesting to see how many people from all walks of life are addicted to this silent killer.  My daughter's group will not be people she knows, unless they are left over from when she completed the group in March.  She had to go, court ordered because of a DUI (weed) she had smoked earlier in the night. The cop could have given her an appearance ticket and a fine, but instead arrested her. No alcohol or anything else ...just weed. Maybe it was for the best looking back. I always told her never smoke (and I'm not a fan of any drugs, weed included) and operate a vehicle, even hours later. She didnt listen, so she got in trouble. Her bad!    
So this group she has to reattend for 6 months isn't really filled with people who know her. She's going to go, and will have to state why she's there "again" and what she did...duster. To some, they may say UGH, LAME. To others, maybe they are doing it also because it doesn't show up on drug testing. Maybe her story will help someone...anyone. Who knows. I really wish something could be done to test for inhalants also. These drug counseling places should be able to test for something so dangerous.  Autopsy reports come back with those poisonous drugs being the cause of death. I'm assuming it's from the blood after why can't they do it on a living person??  Oh well[confused]

Posts: 12
Reply with quote  #6 
I'm sorry to hear your daughter is walking this path and blue rider that you're over coming. This duster is just horrible. I just walked In from my corner minimart who has now decided to carry duster. I spoke with the owner tonight, to try and convey what a disaster it is and pleaded they take it off thier shelves.
My babies father since November has been locked up in a mental health facility, treatmen, in jail once had paramedics called 4 separate occasions in parking lots, and almost was arrested again last weekend. He left last thurs and disappeared for days, all due to him losing time with these cans. It was a sad fathers day, honestly though I'm grateful hes even still alive at this moment.
Hes running from something and it's so painful to watch. He's loving this high more than himself and his child. I wish I could say something to get him to see that each time could be his last breathe. I'm heartbroken for both of them, for everyone using, for everyone loving someone using.

Posts: 37
Reply with quote  #7 
Good morning all on this thread.
I hate to be blunt, but not really.
I witnessed a healthy man become completely addicted to huffing computer cleaner.
I saw it all, the seizures, vomiting, passing out, burns on face and arms, losing jobs, arrests, taken to hospitals by ambulance, losing his morals and values, he lost me and his daughter, and ultimately he died 2 years ago in 3 days.
I read on about the tragic stories related to huffing, and the possible suggestions to how to stop.
Guess what, we tried everything. I’m a psychologist, and I got him the best help possible. You name it, I did it.
However, he was in denial. And I think one foot in with wanting to quit, one foot in the addiction, craving and knowing the relief of being high.
He seemed to have a need to numb out.
Okay, now he is numbed our forever.

You want to know an intervention.
For those that still use, or have loved ones that use.
No , it’s not just dangerous.
Maybe slowly, or maybe instantly in one of your binges.
You want to know how he died?
He checked into a hotel, binged, it was a hot weekend so he went in the pool.
Two cans found on the edge of the pool, him floating face up on the bottom of the pool.

Unresponsive. Dead. Gone.
That’s the story of a huffer.
There is no need to minimize or pretend or tell stories.
I’m keepimg it real.
Next year once I heal from this nightmare, I will be raising awareness and addiction centers and schools about this can.

If you have any questions, email me.
I understand.
Witnessed the struggle.
Battled alongside side him, my boyfriend of 17 years, father of my baby.
And I buried him.



Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #8 
Cece....thank you for the blunt and real response. People need to read this. The fear is death. not a matter of if...more of WHEN.

Posts: 21
Reply with quote  #9 
You should also let your daughter know that before death, there are a ton of medical issues she will encounter. In just shy of 3 years, i have been diagnosed with osteomalasia- which is softening of the bones due to high fluoride levels... from difluoroethane (the chemical in duster). My hips hurt, i am in constant pain and can barely walk at times. Look up skeletal flourosis due to inhalant abuse... there are articles about cases and I'm sure this will be much more prevalent in the future as this addiction is (unfortunately) growing.

Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #10 
Anyonehere....thank you for that input. She's also experienced kidney pain after huffing. Went to the hospital and they said infection, treated her with antibiotics. She stayed in for a couple days.  The first time we didn't know it was related to huffing. Now we do. She went back the 2nd time with more kidney pain after huffing and told the doctors. They didn't make much of a deal...just said that's not good for you. After the first, she developed cellulitis on the left side of her face. We contributed that to being picked up in the hospital when she was there for the first kidney episode. Now we know it's because of huffing as well.  She accepts the fact that huffing has caused the kidney stuff, cellulitis, and even breakouts of pimples on her face and back. She does take meds for anxiety. Sometimes her hands shake. She thought it was due to the anxiety meds.  Now we also know it's because of huffing. All chemicals going into her bloodstream. I told her what you are dealing with also. I pray you are now recovering. The awareness of this huffing stuff must be broadcast on blast!
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