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.

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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.