Laughing gas abuser blames head shops for injury
A nitrous oxide abuser is blaming California head shops for injuries during his laughing gas highs.
Doctors say Jason Starn, who must now use a walker to get around, suffered degeneration of his spinal cord because of his nitrous oxide use.
The 35-year-old former Modesto school teacher filed a Sacramento Superior Court lawsuit last year against head shops in Modesto, Folsom and Foothill Farms, where he bought the drug in the form of gas chargers that go by the trade name Whip-It.
The lawsuit claims Whip-It is the nation’s most-popular inhalant drug.
The Sacramento Bee says Starn’s product safety suit asks for an unspecified general and punitive damages. A court date hasn’t been set.
On Halloween night 2010, Jason Starn had just returned home from a local head shop in Modesto after buying more nitrous oxide "laughing gas" canisters when "my brain kind of froze."
Starn later told his lawyer he had lost all feeling from the rib cage down. His wife took him to a hospital, where doctors kept him two weeks and determined he had suffered a degeneration of his spinal cord related to his abuse of nitrous oxide, his lawyer said. The numbness lasted months, according to the lawyer, and Starn still needs a walker to get around.
In an unusual lawsuit on file in Sacramento Superior Court, Starn is going after the three stores where he bought the drug, in the form of little gas chargers that go by the trade name Whip-It.
One of the three shops, Smoke Island in Folsom, is the same place where a young Sacramento-area man bought dozens of Whip-It canisters last year, just before he gassed himself into a state of blurred consciousness and killed two people in a traffic collision.
"Basically, we filed it because Jason wanted to come forward," said Starn's Sacramento attorney, Deborah Barron. "At first, he felt a little embarrassed about it all. And then he said, 'You know what? I've got to tell my story. I've got to get this out to everybody. There's people being injured by this. There's kids, high school kids, who are taking this stuff. College kids are taking it.'