Most of us have aerosol sprays laying around the house. I’ll be the first to admit I would never think twice about hiding them. I mean, it’s a deodorant spray. What could teens possibly want with a deodorant spray other than to use it to cover their teen smell?
Aerosols hold things like deodorant, spray paint, fabric protector and hairspray, all the go-to choice for those choosing to chrome – which has become a serious problem sweeping our streets.
Chroming is purposely breathing in the chemicals in the aerosol spray in order to get high. This isn’t a new thing, it used to be around when I was younger. I remember it being called glue sniffing.
This dangerous habit is the reason why spray paint bottles are kept behind lock doors in Bunnings instead of over the counter. It’s also the reason why you may have trouble finding deodorant and hairspray on the shelves anymore.
The chroming high doesn’t last long but it can leave you feeling dizzy, dazed and euphoric. But it can also be deadly, and, like all stimulants, those who chrome run the risk of becoming addicted.
Teen dies from chroming addiction
Queensland teenager Nicolas Kendrick is one of the many teens who died from his chroming addiction. His mother, Dianne, found her 17-year-old son in his room with an aerosol can in his cold hands.
“There was a can of Rexona in his hand and it fell to the floor when I touched him.” Dianne recently told A Current Affair.
Dianne admits that she had no idea her son was chroming, let alone addicted to it.
I didn’t know I needed to have the conversation with my child not to suck on aerosol. I knew about stranger danger, I knew about talking about alcohol, safe sex, even driving, but who knew? Because we didn’t and it could happen to anybody.”
Dianne is not alone. I honestly had no idea this was a ‘thing’ again until recently and it’s scary to think how many teens are using aerosols to get high.
Queensland hospitals have reported a 30 per cent increase in the number of children being treated for chroming, which doctors say will inevitably cause brain damage and death.
The chroming crisis
A Current Affair recently shared a video on the dangers of chroming, and, as you can see from the video, this is something that is really harming our youth. Kids are running around the streets with cans and socks in their hands, sniffing at bus stops.
In Dianne’s case, this addiction has cost her a very loving and sweet son. Through her tears, she shares memories of her son singing and playing the guitar. However, she doesn’t blame the aerosol manufacturers for her son’s death.
“The only one to blame is Nicholas. Nicholas did this to himself, we can’t remove aerosols. There’s just too many of them.”
Dianne has written to her State Education Department asking for aerosol abuse to be discussed in school and she hopes other parents take note.
Talk to your kids. If you notice that you’ve got aerosols that are missing, ask the questions: Where are they going? What are you doing with it?”
What parents should look for
Teens are notoriously private and hard to read. But you know your child best. If you notice any of the following, it may be worth investigating further.
- Irritability and mood changes: This is pretty common with all teens but it is a sign of addiction among other things.
- Acting out: The high from chroming doesn’t last long but you may notice your child acting strangely – hyper, dizzy or intoxicated.
- Missing aerosol sprays: This is a big clue that something could be going on. Make sure you check the cupboards to see if any aerosol cans are missing. There are other common household items that people use for sniffing too including paint removers, nail polish removers, vegetable oil cooking spray and whipped cream cans to name a few.
- Empty cans: You don’t want to be Captain Busy-Body but you also don’t want your teen touching this stuff. If you are suspicious, check their backpack and bedroom.
Regardless of whether you think your child could be chroming or not, it’s important to have a conversation about it. Let them know how dangerous it can be and hopefully, they will choose to avoid this deadly fad.
Where to get more support