An Australian woman found her 16-year-old dead after inhaling spray deodorant and is now warning parents about the signs of inhalant abuse.
Brooke Ryan’s mom, Anne Ryan, found her lying face down on her bedroom floor on February 3 in their New South Wales home.
While the coroner’s report has not been released, Ryan believes her daughter died of sudden sniffing death syndrome and suffered a heart attack, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Sudden sniffing death can happen to a healthy, young individual after a single session of inhalant use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that between 100 and 200 Americans die from inhalant-related fatalities per year.
Brooke, who was about to start her junior year of high school the next week, was the latest victim of inhalant abuse, also called “chroming” or “huffing.”
“I wake up, I think of her, I go to sleep and think of her, and you wish, you wish [you could bring her back], but you just can’t,” Ryan told the Sydney newspaper. “Every day is a nightmare.”
Brooke was described by her mom as an “effervescent person” who wanted to be a lawyer, physiotherapist or beautician.
But Ryan, like a lot of teenagers, suffered from mental health issues including anxiety which got worse when the COVID-19 pandemic began, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Although her family was aware of her mental health issues, Ryan said she had no idea Brooke was using inhalants. Now she wants to educate other parents about inhalant abuse and share the warning signs:
- Frequent headaches
- Excessive use of deodorant or other aerosol sprays
- Stains and chemical odors on towels and clothes
- Disorientation or slurred speech
- Nausea or loss of appetite
She is also fighting for clearer labeling on aerosol cans and more education about inhalants in schools.
Just two years earlier in New South Wales, a 16-year-old boy died after inhaling Rexona aerosol deodorant for the first time at a sleepover with friends, A Current Affair reported.
The Australian deodorant brand Rexona is often used by teenagers in the area to chrome, with another 16-year-old dying after inhaling Rexona in June 2021.
The girl’s mother said she was inhaling the deodorant with her boyfriend when she went into cardiac arrest, leaving her with brain damage. She also said she had no idea her daughter was chroming.
In 2019, Newsweek reported on a 13-year-old boy who died after going into cardiac arrest from deodorant that reminded him of his mother.
One Florida man said he was high on “erotic-themed” whippets, or nitrous oxide cartridges often used with whipped cream dispensers, when he drove his car onto a sidewalk and killed a man.
The 27-year-old was arrested and charged with vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter, along with other charges.
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