DEAR ABBY: Reading the letter about the dangers of sniffing and huffing made me relive the tragedy of my beloved 6-foot-1, 190-pound, 16-year-old son. He died in 1974 after sniffing a tissue roll stuffed with paper soaked with deodorant spray. He had told his friends that it wouldn't hurt anyone. Well, it did far more than hurt him -- it killed him.
Never being able to visit our beloved son, never having his children in our lives, never seeing him smile or hearing his voice again are permanent, painful wounds from which we will never recover.
When I retired, I began substitute teaching in 23 schools in the Houston area. I have shared my son's tragic story in every class I taught, hurting and crying every time I retold it. I feel that if my sharing the tragedy can save even one child from dying the way my son did, it is worth the pain of reliving his loss.
Children need to understand how dangerous sniffing and huffing are, and that size and strength will not prevent inhalants from paralyzing one's lungs. They need to know that form of drug abuse is more dangerous than a gun. Sniffing or huffing JUST ONCE can be the last time, because it kills.
Abby, please warn your readers again how deadly sniffing and huffing can be. -- DR. (REV.) LORAINE C. BOATWRIGHT, BONAIRE, GA.
DEAR DR. BOATWRIGHT: My heart goes out to you. Sharing the story of your son's death in order to save another child from dying the same way is both compassionate and generous. I have no doubt that the children to whom you speak will remember and refrain from seeking this deadly "thrill."
Readers, please talk to your children again about sniffing and huffing. Show them this letter. Tell them you love them and would be devastated to lose them in such a senseless way. Warn them not to sacrifice the promise of tomorrow for a momentary high. They have everything to lose when they gamble with inhalants.