Police say woman found getting high on canned air at Walmart
OLATHE, Kan. — A woman is facing charges for getting high at a Johnson County Walmart.
Melissa Ann Wright is accused of huffing an industrial strength duster chemical that’s normally used to clean computers.
Someone said they saw the woman huffing a can of Ultra Duster around 11 p.m. Wednesday inside the Walmart near E. Santa Fe St. and S. Black Bob Rd. That’s when the witness called 911.
The spray, supposed to be used as a cleaner, has a warning on the bottle that cautions inhaling it can be harmful or even cause death.
“Once it enters the system, it causes the heart to become super sensitive to things like adrenaline,” said Tama Sawyer, the managing director of the University of Kansas Poison Control Center. “So if you are frightened, you can have a heart attack.”
Police called an ambulance, but said Wright refused medical attention.
“It can cause you to pass out fairly quickly because it removes the oxygen in your lungs,” Sawyer said.
One of the most common injuries from huffing is instant frostbite.
“They cause frostbite on contact. So you would have frostbite of the lips, throat, mouth and even further down,” Sawyer said.
Because of those dangers and the fact it can cause a liver or kidney to shut down, the makers of the product added a bitter taste to discourage abuse.
University of Kansas Hospital said huffing calls are rare and police agree. They say it’s pretty uncommon to charge anyone with abusing toxic vapors. Doctors say other drugs have become increasingly more popular.