Local News

Police: Stolen Freon was used for huffing

Posted March 21, 2011
Updated March 22, 2011

— Apex police are investigating allegations that a group of teenagers stole Freon from neighbors' air conditioning units and used it for huffing.

Police said the thefts happened Sunday at 2010 and 2005 Jerimouth Drive in the Crockett's Ridge subdivision.

"We were called by a homeowner who witnessed some juveniles actually taking the Freon from one of the homes," said Capt. Ann Stephens with the Apex Police Department.

Police said four teenagers, ages 13 to 18, siphoned the Freon in plastic bags and then inhaled to get high, which is known as huffing. Two of them went to the hospital.

"It blocks oxygen from getting to your brain and basically causes your brain cells to die," said Dr. David Bell of Wake Teen Medical Services. "It's that process of asphyxiation, or the lack of oxygen, that actually give a temporary high."

He said huffing can have long-term consequences for users and may lead teens to experiment with more dangerous drugs down the road.

"You usually start with something fairly benign that's easy to get and then sort of work your way up," Bell said. "Your body gets used to things and you need more or a different kind of stimulus to feel something."

freon Police: Freon stolen for huffing

Susan Blanton has lived in the subdivision for nine years. She said she was shocked to hear that teens are huffing Freon.

"I can't believe that in their own backyard these parents don't know what they're children are doing," Blanton said. "I'm not saying my children are angels by any means. They are not, but I know what my children are doing."

Freon is the common name for a type of hydrochlorofluorocarbon, a chemical compound used in refrigerants, solvents and aerosol propellants. 

No charges have been filed, and the names of the teenage suspects are not being released.


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  • driverkid3 Mar 23, 2011

    rjbunn, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that link. I have been looking all over the place for a way I can get involved in making this a reality for NC.

    Today is one of the days I can't get out of bed, hurting so bad from too many ailments, and shaking so bad it's hard to type. If pot could help, I think it would be far more beneficial than having to take a drug that has the potential to be very addictive. Again, thanks for the link.

  • carrboroyouth Mar 23, 2011

    MillerB - I think the point was that pot in itself rarely kills while providing a high. Huffing Freon, dust-Off or any other heavy gas provides a high risk for suffocation. If you get too much in your lungs, O2 can't properly be taken into your alveoli, thus no O2 in your bloodstream, and obviously that is a baaaddd thing.

  • carrboroyouth Mar 23, 2011

    There are much easier ways to deprive your brain of oxygen. If our nanny state wants to ban Freon, they better ban plastic bags, rope, and Dust-Off.

    chromelexus, I had to laugh at your comments. Never did pot or any drugs (well unless you consider underage drinking "illict") but I have to wonder why you'd bother to steal stuff out of an AC unit to get high. Sounds like their brain cells were reduced to begin with!

  • james27613 Mar 22, 2011

    Few years ago a young teen was missing for several days,
    they found her body near the a/c unit.

    She tampered with the high side valve and inhaled the liquid R-22 instead of the low side gas and that caused her airway
    to freeze up and she suffocated.

    Tragic end of the of a young lady.

  • chargernut69 Mar 22, 2011

    If the news stations did not sensationalize all this stuff, kids would stop doing it... sort of like if they did not advertise every arson fire, then alot of the arsonists would go away !

  • micheleli28 Mar 22, 2011

    So if Ms. Balnton knows what's going on in her backyard then she is aware her son is smoking crack, snorting/smoking heroin and has a bunch of rowdy hoodlums in her yard. She must approve of this behavior being that when her son is not in jail for burglary and drug possesion her backyard is in full swing. If he wasn't in jail right now I am sure he would be the ringleader. It was probably his friends that were involved. I can't believe WRAL did not verify who they were interviewing. The worst possible family in the neighborhood.

  • bear2010 Mar 22, 2011

    and now they smoking potpouri to get a legal high they sell in stores...EMBRACE YOUR REALITY!!!!

  • bear2010 Mar 22, 2011

    wow...imagine the work you have to go thru to get high and all you have to do is roll a plant...the parents, friends, our heros, the people we look up to have get thru to a 13 yr old and keep reminding them things arent so bad...teeanagers are always looking for the alternative reality...we have to remind them this reality isnt so bad...

  • MillerB Mar 22, 2011

    I have a question. This article was about two retards huffing a dangerous chemical. How did it all of a sudden become about the legality of pot?

  • ncmickey Mar 22, 2011

    I saw a girl on that show "intervention" that huffed that air in a can keyboard cleaner stuff. It was Horrifying....