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Parent of girl who died from inhaling helium wants to warn others

WASHINGTON (AP) — The stepfather of a 14-year-old girl who died after inhaling helium at a party is looking to warn others about the dangerous practice.

Ashley Long had told her parents she was going to a slumber party — but instead, she and her friends went to a condo in Medford, OR, where police say there was a party with booze and marijuana — and a tank of helium people were inhaling to make their voices sound funny. After inhaling the helium, Ashley passed out, and later died at a hospital from an obstruction in a blood vessel.

Justin Earp wants to see laws that would prevent young people from buying tanks of helium.

He spoke at a news conference in Washington by the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition. The head of the group says science teachers and other adults have been known to demonstrate the effects of helium on vocal cords. He says there was even an online game site that encouraged kids to inhale helium, talk funny and upload their videos.

The group says few states keep statistics on deaths from helium “huffing.”

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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