SURPRISE, AZ -
A Valley father is outraged after his son landed in the emergency room, after using inhalants known as "whippets" he bought from a Surprise smoke shop.
The father who asked us not to use his name stormed into the smoke shop to return the box of canisters and a device used to inhale the compressed nitrous oxide his son purchased from the smoke shop.
The outraged father is demanding accountability from the owners of the smoke shop, saying they know they are selling dangerous items to people. He questioned why a smoke shop would be selling cans of nitrous oxide, also known as "hippie crack" or "laughing gas" in a highly concentrated form in a box depicting nude women in sexual poses, marketing the product as a charger for "whipped cream."
"Why is a smoke shop that's not a sex shop selling this for any other purpose than getting high?"
He also said the inhaling device sold to his son with the box of canisters was a device that could pop the tops of the cans open, which also made him question if the owners were aware that people buying the product were inhaling it.
The father worried that youth in our community was getting access to a cheap and legal high that was extremely dangerous.
His son's heart rate fell from about 90 bpm to 30 bpm and he was rushed to the emergency room. The doctor indicated that the young man could have died if not brought to the hospital.
The father noticed his son seemed impaired, and his face looked as though he had just had a stroke, when he realized how dire the situation was.
"The average person doing Whippets will do a box in less than thirty minutes. Technically it's legal but it's killing people. The doctor said this could kill him straight up. Anybody that takes it," he added.
In his anger, the father told the smoke shop owner he would try to shut his place down. He said the smoke shop employee appeared to laugh at him and said they were not doing anything illegal.
ABC15 stopped by the M & I smoke shop in Surprise. A man asked us to stop filming the outside of his building. He declined to answer any of our questions, and said everything he was selling was legal.
ABC15 asked him if he knew some of the products he was selling could harm and even kill children. He said "it's legal" and walked inside the building.
"They don't care. It's all about making that buck. They don't care if they kill your child or impair your child as long as they're making that buck, that's all they care about," said the concerned father.
His wife added, "They're no better than the drug dealer that stands on the corner selling heroin, or crack. I almost lost my son."
According to a national watchdog group tracking inhalant deaths, dozens of people are killed from "huffing" every year.
Dangerous side effects can also include loss of brain cells, and loss of oxygen or Hypoxia, along with nerve and brain damage.