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They'll huff and they'll puff and we'll blow their doors down?

Posted Thursday, July 14, 2011, at 11:42 PM

In an earlier blog http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/blog...

I noted that the "war against drugs" has been an abysmal failure and that the current thought is that drug abuse and dependence should be treated as a health problem. I referenced (in the last paragraph) the problem about huffing and a new abuse of "bath salts".

On the front page of July 14th's Daily Reporter appears the headline "Law enforcement seeking huffing ordinance". The story notes that there is no state law dealing with huffing and then quotes our local law enforcement, who say an ordinance is needed as "another tool in the tool belt".

Huffing and abuse of over-the-counter medicines (like Coricidin) [here is a Wikipedia link] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coricidin are only some of the vast stupid and unhealthy things that some of today's youth try.

Rather than spend a lot of time drafting ordinances to prohibit this behavior (which according to the article has been going on for years), the answer should be to educate our parents and children about the problem and to partner with our retailers about taking steps to make these products less accessible to our youth.

A few years ago I got tired of seeing graffiti promoting drugs on the railroad bridge near Stolley's Pond. I bought some cans of dark spray paint at Walmart and painted over it. Before the young clerk at Walmart would sell me the spray paint, she insisted that I show some identification. I was happy to oblige (I suppose just like any fifty-plus-year-old would be if carded buying beer).

The bottom line is this: There is going to be an unlimited supply of things which can be abused (such as gasoline or "dust off" ) and the time and money spent trying to come up with ordinances prohibiting the abuse of such items would be better spent on education and treatment. Let's treat it for what it really is....... a health problem.

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If a parent finds out his or her child has been huffing, the parent should probably take the child to the emergency room if the child is still experiencing the effects.....otherwise, take them to a substance abuse counselor the next day.

What would a parent do if a child was cutting himself/herself? Call the police? Should that person be arrested?

I DO think that the police can help people without arresting them. And it should be a prohibition for one to operate a motor vehicle while under the effects of huffing, etc..

-- Posted by JP Greer on Sat, Jul 16, 2011, at 10:42 PM

I agree with everything your saying. But if there is no law against it the officers hands are tied. If a parent calls the police in to help with a child "huffing" would they be able to arrest this person. I do see how they would consider seeking a huffing law as a tool.

-- Posted by spencer lover on Fri, Jul 15, 2011, at 2:31 PM

I agree. Until we address the issues of why kids or adults are abusing anything, no law or ordinance that punishes them is going to make a difference. We are a society of detached children and broken adults. We have to find a way to heal those who choose to check out of their reality in the hopes of finding peace. It has to start one by one, person to person. If you know someone who is abusing, speak up, find help, and stay vigilant til they do.

-- Posted by Leah Cauthron on Fri, Jul 15, 2011, at 8:23 AM

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Description: JP's take on legal (and other) issues which interest him. Biography: Born in Spencer Iowa, February 6, 1957; Graduated Spencer High School 1975; University of Iowa (B.B.A. 1979); Creighton University School of Law (J.D. 1984); American Jurisprudence Award: Debtor/Creditor Relations; Assistant State Attorney, Florida, 12th Judicial Circuit, 1986-89; Assistant Clay County Iowa Attorney, 1989-93; Iowa State Bar Association: Volunteer Lawyers, 1993- ; American Citizenship Committee, 1994-98; Bridge the Gap Committee 1991-94; Criminal Justice Act Panel Member, 2002- ; National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 2004- ; Iowa Association for Justice, 2004- ; American Bar Association, 1984- ; Florida Bar Association, 1986- .