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NSW mum Anne Ryan has used Mother's Day to issue a warning to parents and kids about chroming after she lost her teen daughter to it.
Brooke Ryan, 16, was found face-down on her bedroom floor, not breathing three months ago.
There was a deodorant can and a tea towel near the Broken Hill teen's body when she was found, lending to the suspicion she was inhaling aerosols before her death.
Brooke's mum now lives out every parent's worst nightmare - and now she's on a mission to prevent other parents from experiencing her living hell.
"I wake up, I think of her, I go to sleep and think of her, and you wish, you wish [you could bring her back], but you just can’t," Ryan told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"Every day is a nightmare.”
While the coroner is yet to file the report on her daughter's death, Ms Ryan believes her bright, bubbly baby girl died of sudden sniffing death syndrome.
Most sudden sniffing death syndrome fatalities are caused by heart failure as the heart is denied the oxygen it needs to pump blood around the body.
When they discovered Brooke's body it was covered in bruises, suggesting that she had suffered from a heart attack.
While Ms Ryan had no idea her daughter was huffing fumes, she now knows how to spot the warning signs - frequent headaches or headache pill usage, excessive use of aerosols or deodorants, odd smells in their bedroom, and white patches on towels.
Experts reckon that this type of inhalant abuse is on the rise in kids and teens - with statics indicating calls to the NSW Poisons Information Centre had more than doubled from 2017 to 2022.
Clinical toxicologist Dr Ingrid Berling revealed about half of the calls to the helpline had involved children under 11.
She also found that young boys and men are more susceptible to sniffing fumes.
"What’s concerning in the data is that there’s a young group of children that are exposed to recreational drugs," Berling told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"It’s only a small percentage of all of the drugs and alcohol and other drugs that are used, but it’s concerning that there are 12 and 13-year-olds that are known to be using hydrocarbons as a recreational drug."
She'll present her full findings to the Clinical Toxicology 2022 Conference later this month.
Drug educator Paul Dillon, who founded Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia, said that some younger people will see 'chroming' as a fun, silly thing to do, but it can lead to tragic situations.
Dillon added that it's a dilemma for educators because they could be giving children ideas by alerting 'them to the possibility' or 'encouraging experimentation' with education.
Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Brooke Ryan. Tommy (Louth) / Alamy Stock Photo.
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