Victim's mom warns of huffing dangers

Full story: WOOD-TV Grand Rapids and Michigan

After her son's death, apparently from huffing or inhaling a computer dusting spray, Beverly Helms started researching.
Comments
21 - 40 of 66 Comments Last updated Oct 20, 2008
Lori

Beverly Hills, CA

#22 Oct 17, 2008
My condolences to the family, and at the same time a really big kudos to the mother for coming forth with this information! I only hope that the information published here today and ongoing will save the lives of some of the children out there, more will become informed and tell their friends of the dangers that this can/will cause.
Brownie Burglar

United States

#23 Oct 17, 2008
Gentle Taz wrote:
Kids think adults are trying to keep them from having fun. As a result, they don't believe the warnings that they are hearing. They think most stuff is safe, as do many adults, because, after all, "it wouldn't be on the shelf" if it wasn't safe. It is safe, if used properly! It's the misuse that makes it dangerous!
I don't know where they would get the idea if it's on the shelf that it would be fun to put in our nose and mouth. Even kids don't like to eat soap. But if they heard you could travel to the planet quixtar, they would probably go ahead and eat the soap. Weren't they getting high from the fumes given off by raw sewage?
cracker

Wyoming, MI

#24 Oct 17, 2008
Darwinism at work.

Since: Sep 08

Ionia

#25 Oct 17, 2008
"One last point - where's Dad? A real man would have been involved with this young man and shown him the right ways to use his body, not as a tool for screwing up his mind."??

To the poster who wrote this, you seem all too unfamiliar with the fact that many children today are living in single parent homes. This was the case with Michael, but I assure you that it does NOT mean that Michael's dad was not involved in his life. Matthew Meek is an an awesome man of God and Michael's mother Beverly is equally incredible. However, regrettably, even the most amazing of parents cannot save their own children from everything...they're humans, not super heroes or Gods.

"He could have bought it himself Lets not get off track here!"
"second you can buy that any where there is no age limit."

These statements are not completely true. Michael was seventeen years old when he passed away, making him obviously a minor. At least at Wal-Mart and Meijer you have to be eighteen years old to even purchase computer duster.
Murphy

United States

#26 Oct 17, 2008
Brownie Burglar wrote:
<quoted text>
Isn't that stuff made to be safely ingested? It's on our food.
They are getting high off the propellent.
Thus destroying brain cells and lung capacity in the process. Inhale too much at once and you will starve your brain of oxygen and die.

All this for a momentary high.
hoofhearted

Greenville, MI

#27 Oct 17, 2008
Brownie Burglar wrote:
I wonder if somebody sprays it up their keester if it has the same effect.
I don't know, but it just might. After all, there are those out there known as butt breathers.
hoofhearted

Greenville, MI

#28 Oct 17, 2008
Brownie Burglar wrote:
<quoted text>
I don't know where they would get the idea if it's on the shelf that it would be fun to put in our nose and mouth. Even kids don't like to eat soap. But if they heard you could travel to the planet quixtar, they would probably go ahead and eat the soap. Weren't they getting high from the fumes given off by raw sewage?
If they have ever been around me after I've consumed cabbage, they would have either been high or unconscious, maybe both!

“DON'T JUDGE ME”

Since: Jul 08

Holland, MI

#29 Oct 17, 2008
I got caught up in huffing as an adult ... I'd gotten into a relationship with a younger guy and I tried it with him. For a year it took over my life and the only thing that stopped me using was the fact that I went to jail and then prison for things that I'd done under the influence of that high. I could've died or had brain damage and I'm so thankful that I wasn't impaired from this stupid act!

Please kids ... don't try this!!!! It's not the way to deal with problems and it's not worth it!!!! It shuts down your system (depending on what you huff) and will kill you and if you don't die, you'll wish you had becuz you could end up with retardation or unable to do things you always did before. I know what I'm talking about, this isn't some "expert" preaching ... PLEASE don't take that first huff!!!!!
DRT2322

Grand Rapids, MI

#30 Oct 17, 2008
Accidental means that the death was accidental, it doesn't mean that he had no clue what he was doing.If he didn't know that he could get high from it, he wouldn't have huffed it. Whether it was curiosity, or if he has been doing it for awhile, he knew what could happen. It's taught in every DARE program in school. It also states on the can that misuse by inhalation can result in death. This is so unfortunate. Hopefully people will take this issue more seriously and realize that "huffing" is so much more dangerous than everyone thinks. They always think that it won't happen to them. Unfortunately, it can. God bless the family.
mercygal wrote:
John Q Public said... We all know about huffing and its obvious this boy did as well, therefore we all know about the death that can come from as did this boy.
This statement is not true. We ALL do NOT know about "huffing".
Just to dispel any erroneous information....my conversation with the coroner who was on the scence when Mike was found, clearly said this was accidental. He DID NOT know what he was doing.
It appalled me to when talking with parents with children yesterday, to find most parents have never heard of this method of "huffing". Some didnt even know what "Duster" was. It is easy to understand why parents of toddlers wouldnt be sympathetic to this issue, but to generalize and say "We all know" is totally incorrect.
Mike was NOT a troubled kid. But he was a normal teenager with curiosities.
Mike is missed dearly by his family, and this community has done a wonderful loving job of supporting us through this difficult time, and we thank them.
mikes grandma

“DON'T JUDGE ME”

Since: Jul 08

Holland, MI

#31 Oct 17, 2008
The duster stuff is right on the shelf in plain sight and anyone can purchase this product at Wal-Mart. I don't know what one you shop at but here in Holland there's not any restrictions. It's not a drug and there are bittering agents added to keep someone from wanting to inhale the stuff.
This is a terrible tragedy and it knows no certain age, race or religion in its victims. I was married with children and was unhappy with my life ... I knew better but didn't think anything bad would happen to me. Luckily nothing did but it could've!
40andfree

Canton, OH

#32 Oct 17, 2008
big rapids wrote:
He could have bought it himself Lets not get off track here!
<quoted text>
i wasnt getting off track on the topic. it just seems like when a kid (DRUGGIE) dies of an over dose, someone is held accountable. kids buy herion, crack and coke and the one furnishing the drug is the criminal.
Hobiecatman

Big Rapids, MI

#34 Oct 17, 2008
This is just so sad. A quick buzz is not worth your life.
say what

Detroit, MI

#35 Oct 17, 2008
Brownie Burglar wrote:
<quoted text>
Isn't that stuff made to be safely ingested? It's on our food.
Sure is; in small amounts and when used as intended (to keep food from sticking to your pan). That doesn't mean it's safe to be ingested in other ways, such as inhaling.
Don't believe me? Try this experiment: water is meant to be ingested. The recommended method of ingestion is swallowing. How about you see what happens when you try to inhale it instead?
average driver

United States

#36 Oct 17, 2008
My good friend lost his son to this exact same horrible thing. What a way for a young person to go.

There was a comment made that the person who sold the duster should be charged with a crime. I want to know what crime was committed ? The sales associate had no way to know that the person he sold the spray to was going to huff and die from that. How could he ?

My prayers are with the family.
Wondering

Spring Lake, MI

#37 Oct 17, 2008
I know it's important to talk about this sort of stuff so that parents are aware of it and can stop it. I just worry that exposing this sort of thing broadly in the media will give other kids the idea to do this.

Some kid might be reading this article right now and might think "ooh! that might be fun! the nyquil is getting expensive!" and will go out and buy a can of duster or Pam or metallic spray paint before the day is out.

It's off topic, but sometimes when I read about pedophiles or beastality I wonder if, a hundred years ago, people didn't do that stuff as much because it never even crossed their mind. I have to imagine that the media plants the seed in some people's heads and then they act on it.
say what

Detroit, MI

#38 Oct 17, 2008
mercygal wrote:
We ALL do NOT know about "huffing".
mikes grandma
Mike's grandma, I very sorry for your loss, but parents need to take the time to educate themselves about what today's teens are up to. I'm the parent of two teens and have known about huffing since I was in school (and kids were dying from doing it then, too). Any kind of aerosolized product can be used to huff; anything from furniture polish to computer duster to spray paint. None of them are even remotely safe to be used in that manner.
As Mike's mom found out after the fact, there are countless videos on YouTube demonstrating the process. Parenting magazines feature stuff like this all the time.
Parents...TALK TO YOUR KIDS!! Ask them what's going on in their lives, in their schools, what concerns them. Ask them every day. Get to know their friends. Get to know their friend's parents. BE NOSEY! That's part of your job as a parent.
JML

Boston, MA

#39 Oct 17, 2008
Be realistic..CLEARLY he didn't know he was going to die from it, otherwise do you really think he would have done it? Who does something they think is going to kill them, unless they're trying to committ suicide? He was obviously uneducated about the potential harm it could do.
John Q Public wrote:
Wheres the dad? Thats a fair question but its a moot point.
We all know about huffing and its obvious this boy did as well, therefore we all know about the death that can come from as did this boy.
Having a Dad in the picture doesnt mean he wasn't going to do what he did. It also doesn't mean that the father wold even give him good advice or that the boy would even follow it.
You can lead a Horse to water......
We have all done things our parents have told us not to do even after they told us what could happen. He was a kid, they feel like it will never happen to them.
DRT2322

Grand Rapids, MI

#40 Oct 17, 2008
As with any substance used to get high, all users are aware that death is a possibility. I highly doubt that he knew he would die when he was huffing, but he had to have known that it was a possibility. If says that right on the label. It's sad. No one ever thinks that it can happen to them. Hopefully this can be a lesson for some.
JML wrote:
Be realistic..CLEARLY he didn't know he was going to die from it, otherwise do you really think he would have done it? Who does something they think is going to kill them, unless they're trying to committ suicide? He was obviously uneducated about the potential harm it could do.
<quoted text>
JML

Boston, MA

#41 Oct 17, 2008
How do you know he was a DRUGGIE? Is it unfathomable that this could have been his first time at doing anything of this nature, and he happened to pay the ultimate consequence for it? That would be like me calling you an idiot, because in your post you don't know that the first letter at the beginning of a sentence needs to be capitalized, or that you don't know overdose is one word, not two. Or, how about the fact that you don't know how to spell heroin either? Probably not a fair assumption huh? Opinions are one thing, cruelty is another.
40andfree wrote:
<quoted text>
i wasnt getting off track on the topic. it just seems like when a kid (DRUGGIE) dies of an over dose, someone is held accountable. kids buy herion, crack and coke and the one furnishing the drug is the criminal.
froggy log

Grand Rapids, MI

#42 Oct 17, 2008
kids do stupid things.

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