Dead sailor was alluded to in article on ‘huffing’
Stars and Stripes June 29, 2007
A sailor was found dead in his quarters earlier this month at Atsugi Naval Air Facility, Japan, but officials aren’t saying much about what happened, citing an ongoing Naval Criminal Investigative Service inquiry.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Steven Minor, 36, of Norfolk, Va., who worked as an aviation structural mechanic, was discovered June 7, according to Jon Nylander, a Commander, Naval Forces Japan spokesman. He said he couldn’t provide details on the circumstances surrounding the death.
"NCIS is investigating the case, so there is not much more we can release," Nylander said in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes. "We also have no word when the investigation will be completed."
However, he confirmed that Minor was the same sailor alluded to in an article by Lucky Hawkins, CNFJ’s regional safety officer, that appeared in the June 20 edition of the Seahawk-Umitaka, Yokosuka’s base newspaper.
In the piece, Hawkins wrote about the dangers of "huffing" and "dusting" and also made reference to "one of our own Sailors from our forward-deployed naval forces (FDNF) whose substance abuse problem resulted in his own death just last week." But he did not name the individual.
Attempts to contact Hawkins were unsuccessful.
According to The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, "huffing" is the practice of inhaling or sniffing ordinary household products and aerosol-type canisters to get high. Products that can be misused as inhalants include model airplane glue, air fresheners, hair spray, gasoline, whipped cream, spray paint and the Freon in air conditioner fluid.
They can be sniffed directly from the container, or "huffed," using an inhalant-soaked rag, sock or roll of toilet paper in the mouth.
In his article, Hawkins stated that "dusting is the same as huffing, except the individual huffs ‘Dust Off’ or related compressed air cans." Both have deadly consequences, he added.
"The practice of huffing and dusting has been around for years but only seems to get real attention when someone accidentally kills themselves when doing it," Hawkins wrote.
"A high from the gas huffed gives rapid feeling of euphoria but at a terrible price. Huffing and dusting can result in damage to brain, lungs, heart, kidneys and liver. Users have been known to be paralyzed for 5-10 minutes after huffing. And, obviously, death can occur the first time it is tried, or any time after."