VICTORVILLE, Calif. (KTLA) — It’s called huffing or bagging — a trend among kids and teens looking for a quick high by inhaling a chemical called Freon.
The dangerous practice is being blamed in the death of a 12-year-old girl from Victorville.
Kristal Salcido lived with her grandmother and cousins. The seventh grader found easy access to Freon from the air conditioning units in their backyard.
Kristal inhaled the chemical, later passing out in her grandma’s bathroom.
She was pronounced brain-dead at a local hospital. Her family made the difficult choice to take her off life support four days later.
Her family says there were never warning signs of Kristal’s dangerous behavior.
Friends at Mesa Linda Middle School remember Kristal as kind, vivacious and popular.
Unfortunately, Kristal isn’t alone in participating in this dangerous trend.
According to inhalants.org — an anti-drug website — one in five students has inhaled a chemical to get high by the eighth grade.
The consequences can be brain liver or heart damage and even death, as in Kristal’s case.
Ron Postoian and his sons own an air conditioning company.
Ron says he’s serviced plenty of units where the Freon had suspiciously been used up.
“When you inhale it, it kills your brain cells — that’s all,” Postoian explained.
He says something as simple as installing safety lock caps can prevent access to freon.
Kristal’s grandmother hopes parents are listening. She wishes she still had the chance to shield young Kristal from something so dangerous.
–Stefan Chase, KTLA News