It's that time of the year again and it's going to be a hot and humid summer. Air conditioners are a necessity during the summertime but it's unfortunate that so many young people find ways to misuse them. Air conditioning units contain refrigerants like Freon that cools down the air so we're able to stay comfortable in 90 degree plus weather, but that's not all refrigerants are used for today.
Many young people, generally teenagers, are looking for cheap ways to get high and choose to inhale or huff refrigerants because of the euphoric high they experience. Freon intoxication is quite similar to being drunk and it doesn't take a lot of the refrigerant to receive a quick high. Even though many people have died or become seriously ill due to huffing Freon and other inhalants, they continue to abuse them. Freon is a gas and when it's inhaled, a person can lose consciousness, their lungs and airways can freeze and they risk instant death.
There are recharge lines on air conditioning units that refrigerants like Freon flow from and when they're tampered with (cut or the pressure valve is released), the gas is released. This is an easy and cheap way for a person to get high but it's also a very dangerous and deadly way. Your oxygen is cut off in the brain when Freon is huffed which can cause brain damage as well as death. As I stated above, it doesn't take much to cause damage to the brain, respiratory problems or death either.
Apartment complexes are common places where some kids hang out if they're intending on huffing Freon but they also will do it at their own home or somewhere in their neighborhood. Plenty of people every year have to recharge their air conditioning units with Freon because for 'some reason', the refrigerant level mysteriously ran low.
This is an extremely dangerous behavior and most people don't understand that. Every year people die from huffing refrigerants from air conditioners and thousands end up in the hospital. Refrigerants like Freon are poisonous and even accidental exposure, especially in a confined area, is risky and can cause health problems and possible death.
I was watching the news this morning and they were talking about the dangers involved with huffing air conditioner refrigerant and they suggested having a Freon lock installed on your air conditioning unit. They're relatively inexpensive, around $30. Freon is quite expensive if you have to replace the refrigerant because it's legitimately running low or because your unit has been tampered with and some young person risked their life getting high.
Hopefully these refrigerant locks will catch on and more people will start putting them on their air conditioner units so that huffing Freon isn't as easy to do in the future, as it is today.