Freon Fix - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Freon Fix

(WFLX) - It's disgusting: An addiction that chips away at brain cells. Homemade videos posted on YouTube show teens out of control chasing a short-lived high by inhaling chemicals used to cool your home.

"You could die on the first try," warned Mona Casey. She knows. Her 15-year-old son, Charles, was addicted to freon.

In 2006, he picked up the horrifying habit from a friend after school. Casey explains the mind-killing method. "The effects of refrigerant had already dissipated, so there was no clue or any indication to us that he was up to no good that day."

Some teens take huffing to terrifying extremes to feed their addiction that begins minutes after the first huff.

"Some people, when they're doing inhalents, will put them in a plastic bag and put the bag over their head," said Wayne Frith.

They will pass out with a bag on their head, die from heart-failure, brain damage or suffocation.

Mona says two-weeks after her son learned to huff, he was dead. His lifeless body found sprawled out on a neighbor's yard. "We had no idea that such danger was so easily accessible."

Now, technicians can install an a/c lock on an older models to prevent it from happening. "To date, we've installed about 400 of the caps," Chase Tunnell, president of DSCR, said.

Tunnell began securing a/c units in Virginia after hearing of Mona's painful reality. He knows the small, silver caps can save lives. "We had an area school system that actually had an incident of a student huffing refrigerant out of one of the system's there."

He's also getting calls from suspicious parents. "One in particular has actually seen their son hanging around their outdoor unit with plastic bags."

The only ones who can remove the caps are licensed technicians with a key that's not available to the public.

Mona Casey says have a technician do it now. "If your child dies on the first use, which many of them have, it will be too late then.

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