Drug Policy

Insanitized

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A 14-year-old boy in Lewisville, Texas was arrested, booked, and fingerprinted last October for sniffing his teacher's hand sanitizer.

Mr. Ortiz said the family's ordeal began Oct. 19, when his son picked up a bottle of hand sanitizer from the desk of his fifth-period reading teacher at Killian Middle School in Lewisville. He rubbed the gel on his hands and smelled it.

In the view of school officials, the boy "inhaled heavily," according to Mr. Ortiz, who said his son sniffed the cleanser "because it smelled good."

The youth was sent to the principal's office, and the Lewisville police officer assigned to the school began investigating.

[…]

The teen was required to serve a brief in-school suspension and was also fingerprinted and photographed at the Lewisville Police Department. He returned to regular classes at the school, including one with the teacher whose sanitizer he sniffed.

Mr. Ortiz said he believed the matter was over until Tuesday when he was served with a petition charging his son with delinquency for inhaling the hand sanitizer to "induce a condition of intoxication, hallucination and elation."

He said he couldn't believe that his son would have to go to court for smelling hand sanitizer. "I think it's ludicrous," said Mr. Ortiz, who blames overzealous police and prosecutors for initially pursuing the case.

Joni Eddy, assistant police chief in Lewisville, said Friday that hand sanitizer has become a popular inhalant. "That is the latest thing to huff," she said.

The local prosecutor had the common sense to not pursue the charges.

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  1. Lewisville, not Louisville.

  2. The local prosecutor had the common sense to not pursue the charges.

    Radley, are you feeling okay? Your news item has a happy ending.

    /keed keed

  3. COPS=Caucasioan Obtuse emPloyment Service

  4. On the other hand, this could open up a market for personal hygiene products that smell like dogshit. All to keep the kids from sniffing suspiciously, of course.

  5. I work at a rehab and we have little bottles of hand sanitizer all over the place. Even substance abuse counselors at a program aren’t worried about kids sniffing this stuff!

  6. You have to worry about the mentality of cops who would actually book a kid in a situation like this. Even if the school personnel are insane (which is common), you’d have to be a sadistic fuck to put a kid through this.

    Cops…sadistic fucks…ok I guess it makes sense.

  7. We need a zero-tolerance policy against guv’ment!

  8. You know, Balko, you could throw me a bone and point out that you corrected the post so I don’t look like a nutjob!

  9. Dude. Don’t knock it. That apple spice stuff with the little fleck in it from whassname, Bath and Body or whatever, is freakin’ sweet.

    I inhale all the time.

  10. Joni Eddy, assistant police chief in Lewisville, said Friday that hand sanitizer has become a popular inhalant. “That is the latest thing to huff,” she said.

    Make that assistant police chief in charge of pulling made up shit out of his ass.

  11. Is there any evidence that hand sanitizer is even capable of getting you high? Methinks Ms Eddy, in her rush to get out in front of “the newest thing to huff”, has been gulled by some mischeivous adolescent informants.

  12. “that is the latest thing to huff”

    Bhahahahahahaha!

    One of the biggest ironies in the war on drugs is how many complete potheads I know who are much more intelligent, competent, and rational than your average drug warrior.

  13. Do you have to get a visa to move to Estonia?

  14. warriors on drugs

    goodbye rationality

    get me out of here

  15. Don’t taze me, Bro!

  16. You know, Balko, you could throw me a bone and point out that you corrected the post so I don’t look like a nutjob!

    highnumber, I’m afraid it would take more than that… 😉

    But if it makes you feel any better when I saw that the post said Lewisville I attributed it to your correction. . . even if you are a nutjob. 🙂

  17. Keep Dope Alive !!!

  18. One should really try bromine tablets and 10w40 for the real affect.

  19. Brian Courts,

    Uh, thanks?
    🙂

  20. “warriors on drugs

    goodbye rationality

    get me out of here”

    The only way to survive the War on Drugs, is to use drugs.

  21. Unless we show NO TOLERANCE for these huffing satanists our great Republic stands in grave danger of . . . what’s that? Sanitizer?
    That’s GOLD!!! Who makes this shit up?

  22. Joni Eddy, assistant police chief in Lewisville, said Friday that hand sanitizer has become a popular inhalant. “That is the latest thing to huff,” she said.

    Pshaw. Haven’t these people heard of jenkem?

  23. In related news, Mr Sketch magic markers are now considered Class A narcotics. Its a gateway ‘huffer’.

  24. Methinks Ms Eddy, in her rush to get out in front of “the newest thing to huff”, has been gulled by some mischeivous adolescent informants.

    Yep, I imagine some kids got busted for shoplifting at Wal-Mart and if there’s one thing they’ve learned from the WoD is that the quickest way out of trouble for a real crime is to snitch on someone else’s (real or fabricated) drug use. After all, if it gets the police to look the other way as long as you give them the goods on which of your burglarized houses had something remotely resembling drug paraphernalia (so they can justify another exciting midnight raid) the lesson is hard to miss.

  25. And seriously, shouldn’t the teacher be facing contributing-to-the-delinquency charges for bringing hand sanitizer to a classroom? ZOMG it’s for the children!!!1!11!one!

  26. Sweet! Ive been selected to recieve 2 free Ipod Nanos! I feel special.

  27. After all, if it gets the police to look the other way as long as you give them the goods on which of your burglarized houses had something remotely resembling drug paraphernalia (so they can justify another exciting midnight raid) the lesson is hard to miss.

    Brian Courts –
    We don’t KNOW that’s what happened in Chesapeake. It could take weeks to breach the blue wall and discern the truth. The silence is deafening though, isn’t it?

  28. If i get selected for those nanos one more time…
    god, don’t they realize how often people hit the ‘refresh’ button on a blog? every time i check for new comments I have to hear that shit.

  29. I wonder how it will be before hand sanitizer is locked up with the Sudafed at the local Walgreen’s.

  30. I just used some of the hand sanitizer I have on my desk and then sniffed it. It doesn’t work, I don’t feel high at all. This is blatant false advertising. 🙁

  31. Nostalgia for those of us who went to school in the ’70’s. Sniffing the purple printed ditto page fresh from the ditto machine, aaahhh youth, smells like a solvent.

  32. Wondering what I’m doing tonight
    I’ve been in the closet and feel all right

    Ran out of Carbona Mom threw out the glue
    Ran out of paint and roach spray too

    It’s TV’s fault why I am this way

    Mom and pop wanna put me away
    From the early morning movie to the late late show
    After it’s over nowhere to go

    And I’m not sorry for the things I do

    My brain is stuck from shooting glue

    I’m not sorry for the things I do

    Carbona not glue

  33. The latest thing to huff is alcohol?

  34. I think I found the truly shocking part of the story:

    The local prosecutor had the common sense to not pursue the charges.

  35. Joni Eddy, assistant police chief in Lewisville, said Friday that hand sanitizer has become a popular inhalant. “That is the latest thing to huff,” she said.

    I have to wonder if Ms. Eddy has been huffing her nail polish remover.

  36. I’ve been huffing and huffing it all night long Robert.

    The people involved in this still don’t seem sane to me though.

  37. wtf!! unless there is gasoline in a pop can, no one is huffing anything. although that was the huff of choice in my middle school, could be different now.

  38. We don’t KNOW that’s what happened in Chesapeake. It could take weeks to breach the blue wall and discern the truth. The silence is deafening though, isn’t it?

    J sub D, you’re more optimistic than me it seems. I doubt we’ll ever be able to discern the truth in most cases due to the active and passive lying that is such a deeply ingrained part of the “blue wall of silence” culture.

    But while we may not know the full details of the Chesapeake case, piecing together the circumstantial evidence of this and other informant related cases (including the infamous FBI testimony to Congress that Balko has blogged about before) it is pretty clear that informants are more than occasionally allowed to get away with real crimes that put people at substantial risk as long as they provide info on teh drugs.

  39. J sub D, you’re more optimistic than me it seems.

    Well the Kathryn Johnston thing came out, but that may be the proverbial exception…

    …it is pretty clear that informants are more than occasionally allowed to get away with real crimes that put people at substantial risk as long as they provide info on teh drugs.

    Like murder. And they hold themselve to be my moral betters.

  40. This kind of nonsense does not occur in my SE Asian 3rd World home. Please do not spread Americanism to my paradise.

    Once again, my decision to vote with my feet and ditch the land of the free and the home of the brave has been vindicated!!!!!!!!!!

  41. Well the Kathryn Johnston thing came out, but that may be the proverbial exception…

    Yes, certainly an exception, but I would say that it was a very good step in the right direction as well as a testament to the fine work Balko is doing on these difficult and depressing cases.

  42. For more of this kind of absurdity, check out http://www.zerointelligence.net/

  43. Do you have to get a visa to move to Estonia?

    You may be disappointed by the etymology of that name.

  44. Obviously we need more government!

    Get cracking Mr. Obama

  45. On the other hand, this could open up a market for personal hygiene products that smell like dogshit. All to keep the kids from sniffing suspiciously, of course.

    There was a report on my local TVsnooze tonight about kid’s cough syrup. Too many kids are defeating the “childproof” lids and imbibing w/o parental permission. It seems the evil manufacturers have made the stuff taste good so it’s easier for a harrassed parent to get their sick kids to swallow it.

    Yes, there was indeed a proposal to require the manufacturers to make their cough syrups taste bad, so kids wouldn’t want to drink it.

    Just what the harrassed parent wants to hear.

  46. What if it smelled like shit? Would that make the kid more grounded?

  47. For some reason I keep getting the Onion everytime I go to my Reason.com link. I have read 3 stories now in a row that all seem totally unbelievable.

  48. I wanted to add that the DA did pursue charges and only dropped the matter after the boy’s father hired an attorney and media got involved.

    Richard Ortiz, the father of the seventh-grader, welcomed the news late Friday but expressed frustration that the case, which began in October, went as far as it did.

    “I’m glad the DA’s office decided they made a mistake, but they didn’t decide that until after I hired a lawyer and the media got involved,” said Mr. Ortiz, who was interviewed by two media outlets on Friday.

    Mr. Ortiz, who asked that his 14-year-old son’s name not be published, said the boy was embarrassed and humiliated by the charge. He described his son as a well-behaved teenager who makes good grades.

    “They were going to prosecute my son,” Mr. Ortiz said. “He still has that stigma. People know him as a drug user, and he’s not.”

  49. I work in the Juvenile Court system, and I have heard of some desperate juveniles with alcohol related problems trying to consume hand sanitizer because they read alcohol in the label. But you can’t get high from huffing alchohol. I can’t belive they would file charges… and am happy the prosecutor dropped charges.

  50. I think Mr Ortiz needs to apply the Scalia “New Professionalism” remedy.

  51. I’ve been huffing and huffing it all night long Robert.

    The people involved in this still don’t seem sane to me though.

    You’re not supposed to huff it from inside the still. And you’re right, the people in the still with you must be insane.

  52. Recently, a student was suspended for kissing his girlfriend on the Bus. (it makes me wonder if they’ve taken the “abstinence only” education just a tad to far) The K through 12 schools these days won’t let any amount of pleasure go unpunished.

    We may be fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, but something similar seems to be taking hold in the public schools. Soon, we’ll replace the dept of education with the Ministry of Public Vice and Morality. It will be headed by Mullah James Dobson and the Burka clad leadership of NOW.

    The Religious Right and the PC segment of the Left both seem to agree that the less freedom in public schools,(and in society in general) the better

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