Huffing And Other Inhalation That Causes Driver Intoxication

What Is Inhalation?

Inhalation is the breathing in of chemical vapors through the mouth (referred to as huffing) or nose in order to get “high.” The chemical vapors are often derived from common household and industrial products.

What Are Inhalants?

The inhalation of chemicals is further described in the National Institutes Of Health (NIH) document titled “What Are Inhalants.” An excerpt:

Inhalants are volatile substances that produce chemical vapors that can be inhaled to induce a psychoactive, or mind-altering, effect. Although other abused substances can be inhaled, the term “inhalants” is used to describe a variety of substances whose main common characteristic is that they are rarely, if ever, taken by any route other than inhalation. This definition encompasses a broad range of chemicals that may have different pharmacological effects and are found in hundreds of different products. As a result, precise categorization of inhalants is difficult. One classification system lists four general categories of inhalants — volatile solvents, aerosols, gases, and nitrites — based on the forms in which they are often found in household, industrial, and medical products.

Many different common household products and industrial products can be the source of vapors used to get high. Among these products are spray paints; hair sprays; glues; paint removers; propane; and room odorizers.

Depending upon the product and method used, this inhalation can be called huffing, sniffing, bagging or snorting. When people inhale through the mouth it is usually referred to as huffing, whereas other methods breathe in the vapor through the nose.

Effects Of Huffing, Sniffing, Bagging And Snorting

As seen in the NIH document mentioned above, such activities have various effects on the body. Among these effects are a slowing of the central nervous system that can cause slurred or distorted speech; lack of coordination; euphoria (feeling high); dizziness; and hallucinations. Overdoses causing seizures and possible heart stoppage can occur, which can lead to death. Longer-term effects can include organ damage including brain damage, other adverse health impacts, and possible addiction.

Problems Stemming From Inhalation

Inhalant use is problematical for many reasons, including detrimental health impacts as well as the hazards presented to traffic safety by those who drive while intoxicated by inhalation. There have been many serious vehicle crashes caused by people who have been driving after doing this.

Several crashes of this type have happened in the Chicago area. A Highland Park crash occurred on September 3, 2012. In this fatal pedestrian accident, a driver who had allegedly been huffing was driving and lost control of her vehicle. She drove onto a nearby sidewalk. In doing so the vehicle struck a family who had been walking. A 5-year-old girl was fatally struck and several members of her family were injured.

A St. Louis fatal vehicle accident occurred after a driver had been huffing. In this St. Louis accident a driver allegedly used inhalants previous to a crash. The driver lost control of the vehicle and fatally struck a woman on a sidewalk. This fatal pedestrian accident is further discussed in the December 18, 2020 St. Louis Post-Dispatch article titled “Parent of victim in fatal crash file suit against driver accused of ‘huffing’…”

Drug-Impaired Driving Continues To Be A Serious Problem

In recent years a major traffic safety problem has been drivers who have driven while drug-impaired. The drugs used by these drivers ranges widely. However, among the most common narcotics have been marijuana, heroin, meth, and cocaine. The effect of this drug use on a person’s ability to safely operate a vehicle depends on many factors. Additionally, there are circumstances in which the impairment can be increased. For instance, if alcohol is consumed during the drug use and/or more than one drug is used the impairment can be magnified.

One notable fatal bicycle accident occurred in Nevada in December 2020. In this accident, a driver who allegedly had been doing meth ran into a group of bicyclists. Five bicyclists were killed and others were injured.

Many Chicago-area vehicle accidents have involved a driver who has been drug impaired. Often, due to the level of driver impairment these crashes lead to serious accident injuries, some of which are life-threatening or fatal in nature. The subject of drug-impaired drivers and the crashes they have been involved in is further discussed on the “Vehicle Accidents Involving Drivers Under The Influence Of Drugs” page.

Filing A Lawsuit If You Have Been Injured

If you have been injured due to the fault of another person you may elect to file a personal injury lawsuit. While there are many reasons someone may file a personal injury suit, many seek injury compensation. When someone is seriously injured, there can be many financial burdens that arise, such as the cost of medical care and potential lost income due to the inability to work. A personal injury lawsuit attempts to get money for these costs and other financial challenges caused by the injury. Among categories of compensation include those for:

  • Medical costs (including those for past, current and future expenditures)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of function
  • Lost wages due to inability to work
  • Loss of consortium
  • Ambulance costs
  • Other damages

The Elman Joseph Law Group Can Help You Win

The Elman Joseph Law Group has been handling Illinois personal injury lawsuits for over 25 years. It also handles wrongful death lawsuits for cases in which injuries have resulted in a fatality.

During this 25+ year period, the Elman Joseph Law Group has won many notable settlement and verdicts. It has built a reputation for its court trial experience. Some of these settlements and verdicts can be found on the “Lawsuit Results And Illinois Court Trial Capabilities” page.

Tony Elman, Lead Trial Attorney of the Elman Joseph Law Group, offers a free initial legal consultation for those that have been injured due to the fault of another person. He can be reached at 773-392-8182 at any time…or [email protected]

Elman Joseph Law Group handles all lawsuits on a contingency basis…clients never pay a fee unless and until they receive money.

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