Victoria mom warns parents after son, 15, drinks toxic fluids and dies

By chillinwill · Jan 19, 2010 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    A mother from Victoria is warning parents to talk to their kids about responsible drinking after losing her own son when he drank a toxic mix of windshield wiper fluid and gas, thinking it was alcohol.

    Dallas Landrie, 15, was drinking at a friend's house on Dec. 21, in Moose Jaw, Sask., where the family moved in February 2008 from Victoria.

    When Dallas and his friend Dustin returned home that night, Dallas appeared to be extremely intoxicated, his mother said. She asked what they had been drinking or if they had done any drugs and Dustin, who was not nearly as affected by the alcohol, said it was cognac. What Landrie would later find out was that Dustin had stolen the glass cognac bottle from a man's garage months earlier and it contained a fatal mix of windshield wiper fluid, gas and other poisonous liquids.

    Dallas spent the night vomiting and by the next morning, was dry heaving, said Landrie, who assumed it was a bad hangover.

    The alarm bells went off when Landrie entered the bathroom to find Dallas hunched on the tile floor, kneeling in his own vomit. When Landrie tried to help her son up, he said "I can't see you."

    They rushed Dallas to hospital around 4:30 p.m. and doctors began extensive tests to find out what was wrong.

    "They said he was gravely ill and everything was happening so fast," Landrie said. "Soon he was not breathing on his own."

    Dallas was rushed to Regina General Hospital, where doctors found the toxic chemical methanol in his blood. The poison had caused Dallas to go blind and was attacking his brain cells.

    It's unclear why Dustin didn't get sick since they drank from the same bottle, but Landrie noted that methanol settles at the top, so it's possible Dallas had the first few gulps.

    "They thought it was alcohol," Landrie said, noting that her son had only tasted alcohol a few times before. "They thought hard alcohol tastes awful."

    By Dec. 23, Dallas had no brain function and on Christmas Day, he died.

    He was remembered at a memorial in Victoria last week as a shy but friendly teen who loved playing with his three younger siblings.

    Landrie said she and her husband always encouraged Dallas to be open and honest with them about alcohol, but they never thought to warn him about a situation like this.

    "We never would have thought to talk to him about mixing stuff or not drinking from unknown bottles."

    By Katie DeROSA
    January 17, 2010
    The Vancouver Sun

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  1. pinksox
    Very sad and tragic.

    But, by the age of 15, parents should certainly have had talks about drugs, drinking, responsible substance use...and the fact that one NEVER drinks things found under the sink or in storage shed, or garages(especially if their not their own just because ppl often put shit in other containers and don't label it). Hell, SWIM's had those talks with her kids since they were old enough to comprehend(especially the sink and garage stuff , ect and ditto for pills).

    Sad as it is, SWIM guesses it's another example of "survival of the fittest." Because that was just an incredibly dumb thing to do. And the parents not having had those discussions with their child was quite irresponsible as well. As was the not teaching, "you don't steal shit from other people."

    Guess it all goes
  2. twoiko
    I would imagine these parents are not retarded and had talks about drinking random bottles under the sink and also stealing. It just sounds like a fucking stupid kid stole some random liquor bottle, from a random garage for fucks sake, and died because of it. Very tragic, not very easily prevented except to not keep fucking windshield washing fluid in a liquor bottle in your garage maybe?
  3. RealGanjaMan
    I think the real prevention here would be not stealing, or teaching your kids not to steal. If I was draining fluids out of my car and an empty liquor bottle was the closet container in my reach I would probably use it, not expecting the neighbor's kid to break in and steal it.
  4. Rin_Weh
    Once again, death is a harsh penatly to pay for making a dumb choice.
    Anyone is suseptible.
    Sad story....
  5. Simple-Name
    Sucks this kind of thing happened... Kid shouldn't have stole in the first place...

    IMO there isn't much to be learned from this other then to probably educate you're kids on proper consumption of alcohol/drugs... And being able to have the trust with each other to talk about the things you do/use openly...

    That did happen here though, and there isn't much else to learn from this story... just sad...
  6. Electric Wizard
    Sorry but on this occasion I disagree it was any fault of the parents, chances are he was told not to steal, it's not as if being told not to steal automatically means you aren't going to. I was never taught not to drink things from random bottles, I didn't need to be. It's just common sense.
    And who would? "Remember son, don't go stealing alcohol containers and drinking the contents, that may not be what's in them."
    This to me looks like a very unfortunate mistake.
  7. spacca
    The tragedy in death is ALWAYS those left behind - sympathy to his parents
  8. NeuroChi
    Very sad story indeed.

    In line with pinksox stating the importance of discussing this with children, I would go as far as to say I think parents should sit down with their children and have them try alcohol, be it beer, wine, or liquor. Then the child will know what it tastes like.

    If he has ever tried any liquor, he would have quickly spat out that filth.

    On a different note, some critical thinking, what do people mix windshield washer fluid with gasoline for? What kind of purpose would such a mixture serve?
  9. gonegrowin
    Yes that is very weird to mix. Perhaps children had stolen his liqour before? THat is incredibly brutul if his intent was to have them steal and drinks that. But, as said before, you shouldnt steal people stuff. "Garage hopping" was common by me, where teens go into people garages and steal liqour. I can name a few properties that are armed to the teeth just incase anyone decides to break in or steal things from them...
  10. dmtHELLA
    Call it sad, call if tragic. But realize the truth. The kid stole with intention to drink an intoxicating beverage 6 years before legal drinking age. I think it is pretty obvious he was the instigator since he probably drank first and the most. Be thankful he didn't lead his friend into the same death.

    Wait till you can identify America's most popular drug before you start killing brain cells.
  11. Motorhead
    The rep system is not used to for differences of opinion. It is always a touchy subject when the death of a child is involved. Please keep opinions respectful and in the message board. Disrespectful posts and replies have been deleted.
  12. moda00
    Yes, we need to be respectful when someone has lost a child. Very sad no matter what, RIP.

    I think some of you are misreading this- the boy who LIVED, not died, is the one who stole the alcohol, His friend, the boy who died, probably had no reason to question his friend that it was booze. Nor did the friend who took it, I dare say. I think it is clear that they both believed it to be booze or would not have drank it, right? Fairly obvious. No malicious intent.

    I think teenagers quite often will "steal" alcohol- yes, it is stealing in a sense, but teens don't think in the same way, they are taking risks and forming their identities and I imagine most of us here can think of at least one incident in our teens where we could have wound up dead or in jail had things not gone differently, or when we took something that was not ours (does that make us a thief? single incident of poor judgment should not be reason for a lifetime of labels and character defamation, and it does make me very sad to think when someone dies of alcohol, drug, or accidental causes like this one, that some will focus in on that one single incident, whereas those who were not as unlucky and lived through the mistakes of their teens will have it brushed off as stupid teen mistakes, recklessness well put in the past, whatever..

    Example, afoaf knows an incident where someone took money from him to buy marijuana and was going to take some to sell and split it between them, then he acted like he had it but really messed up and spent the $ on opiates (afoaf did not know he was an addict and had no reason not to trust at that point), however he went out nof his way to plant "fake" hash in a hiding spot and show afoaf and say he got that instead and was waiting to sell it, and afoaf was shaded out and was like, "f- it, it's my money, I'll just get it myself since I threw down on it." Turns out said addict put the iron oxide from a hand warmer packet where the "hash" was. Afoaf had never had hash and would not have known. Could that not have potentially caused disastrous consequences had he been smoking that instead of bud for a length of time (swim doesn';t know for sure but she imagines?) or sold that to people? Could it not have been anything put there to look like hash, the addict was in addict-zone and didn't know/care/think it through- could have easily been something extremely toxic, that could have caused harm just by one attempt to smoke it or contact with one's hand or smelling it, flammable causing burns, etc? Luckily afoaf asked someone who had seen hash and decided it was not hash and the other person later admitted what it was, but yes, people do not always make the best decisions sometimes!!

    Teens have times where they do stuff without thinking it through well; adults also can do stupid stuff, this is not news. This individual was an addict so he was not really in control of his faculties, in example above, and felt he needed to prove he was being honest and had not stolen the money to buy time until he could repay it, one might assume, given an addict's twisted, in the moment thinking (swim knows she always thought somewhere in her head she would find a way to hide things or pay things back even if at the time she had no idea how or when and realistically it was not going to happen, it doesn't mean she didn't delude herself that she was just borrowing something or whatever- that is how addicts think sometimes as many of us are aware).

    But I am guessing that was not this man's motive, of course.. I can imagine an immature or unstable adult doing something intentionally like that (planting something to deter theft/get revenge) as someone speculated- remember the myspace suicide deal, where the MOM of one of the teen girls was behind it, as well as another teen?? I imagine there is a ton of regret now, I imagine she never thought it would lead to a death, but she still did it and that is what happened. But I can also imagine that it was a conveniently sized, glass bottle and he needed to store or dispose of some sort of chemical related to auto maintenance without corroding plastic or dumping it in the sewer or whatever- I don't know much about these things but in general it seems possible too. The point it, there are millions of scenarios and we will never know. If intentional, that was a really sad choice to make and have to live with (!), but even then I imagine a person would have thought that anyone would have realized immediately and decided to stop stealing from him- not drank it/continued to believe it was booze- but I think to an inexperienced drinker, hard liquor does taste and smell like poison, how would they have known at their age and experience level?

    I mean maybe I am idealistic, of course it is also possible that an unstable person just wanted to bait/poison someone- unlikely, but possible, we'll never know but I imagine the police investigated this if they were able to confirm with the living boy what was in it by chemical testing, as it sounds like, and where it was obtained. So it's also possible the contents were poisonous in some way, but not the exact mixture stated by the press- it sure would NOT be the first time if that were the case. So such speculation doesn't really lead to any conclusions other than, control what we can control, which is talk to our kids, and avoid putting toxic substances or drugs in mislabeled containers.

    So, I do think a lesson is this- parents, yes, should speak to their children- of course- but not all possible scenarios can be avoided or fixed, and parents should not be blamed when accidents happen.

    And the bigger lesson is that we need to be careful about what and how we put where, how we label things, etc. So if an adult of legal drinking age has an old alcohol bottle- get rid of it! Don't put toxic stuff in there! Harm reduction, folks. Same way we try to tell people if they have GHB/water mixed in a water bottle, dye it blue. Or better yet, put it in a non-confusing container AND dye it blue. Liquid LSD? Again- don't leave it laying around in an easily confuseable container. RCs? Make sure they are stored and weighed to precision, not confused for other substances with different dosing ranges and effects just because they are a random white powder easily confused with anything else by someone who doesn't know better. Would we choose to put toilet bowl cleaner into a leftover salad dressing container for storage? I would hope not, but I am sure it has probably happened once or twice too. We are not infallible, so simple steps to prevent this confusion should surely be taken, but we also have to realize that not every sad incident will be prevented, but it doesn't mean we can't educate people about these types of occurrences and realize that we possibly have to take certain steps to protect the less informed, the young people, etc. from their own actions at times. That might sound rather propagandist (is that a word?) but all I mean is that we can't make assumptions when it comes to any substance, that just because we know what it is or where it is, that it could not be easily confused by someone else without that experience or knowledge as happened here.

    So yeah- HARM REDUCTION! No non-booze in a booze bottle, or make use of those nifty poison control free stickers if they still make those (I LOVED those as a kid lol) or even just a sharpie, something to ID the contents!! In this case, it could have saved lives, assuming this was unintentional, but we also cannot assume everyone will think about these things or comply, the best we can do is try to get the word out on the importance of harm reduction in its many forms-- but yes, some things will happen and it is tragic but it is not necessarily anyone's fault beyond being a sad series of coincidences and oversights that led to this- any one of several events could be changed and this likely would not have happened as such- say if one of the boys had recognized the taste as not being that of booze, having tasted cognac before, even if the other boy had not. Say the man had put the waste in another container, and/or had real booze in the garage. Or if the boys had gotten alcohol elsewhere. Or not at all that day. But then on the other hand, inexperienced drinkers can also die from alcohol poisoning, so even having real alcohol is no guarantee of safety, and teens without access to alcohol but determined to get a buzz might turn to something else (possibly of equal risk, or more risky), like OTC or Rx meds, inhalants, etc; however, knowing what you are consuming certainly lowers risks so I do think that it is valid to push for clear labeling of such things which could even remotely possibly be confused.

    And yes, talking to teens about this might help, but still, those who are most vulnerable to something like this are likely inexperienced and/or impulsive, and since we cannot really condone young people drinking (can we?), I don't know that there is a real good answer other than the obvious harm reduction techniques and trying to make sure they are utilized.

    So the broader issues- does it make sense to lock up alcohol from kids, or leave it out trusting them not to take it, or leave it out knowing they might try it sometime but at least they know where it came from and that it is what the label says (another thing I am thinking aside from this specific incident, which is probably more common obviously, is that if booze is watered down and kids start drinking on that- i.e. another sibling or the same kid prior took some and added water, to keep the bottle level- then they might misjudge tolerance/potency and have no way of knowing the proof of what they drink at any given time, as they would need more and more volume of the liquid if kept adding water each time a little was removed; then when/if they are suddenly drinking non-diluted alcohol, one might drink way too much, possibly leading to alcohol poisoning)-- or just beat them to it and let them try it with you, either to judge taste as posted and know what it should taste like, to prevent incidents like this, and/or to prevent drinking something that has been spiked because they assume it is supposed to taste ___ (bitter/awful/whatever)? Or a step further, even, drinking with them in moderation? Providing alcohol to a teen and/or their friends? Hosting in your home when you know there will be drinking? Obviously knowing what they have (substance, potency/proof, etc.) leads to harm reduction as with any intoxicant/consumable.. but in general do we agree that teen drinking is harmful-- or only teen binge drinking? Have there been studies on light or moderate teen use, such as in Europe, where it is more culturally accepted than in North America and some other countries/continents?? Where is the cut-off to adulthood, and is this determined more by societal/cultural factors or laws, or actual research on when the brain is less likely to be negatively impacted by alcohol? Does early exposure to alcohol lead to greater likelihood of later addiction in those susceptible (i.e. genetics/nature) or does early exposure in a culturally positive and responsible context lead to less addiction in susceptible people (i.e. environment/nurture)? I know we probably don't have all these answers... just thinking aloud..

    I do wonder though, since of course we can spout rhetoric about developing brains being better off without any substances, and that it is ideal for young people not to have any-- which yes, of course, I think to a certain extent most of us can agree with-- but generally what is "ideal" tends to be a blockade to dealing with what is REAL and reducing the harm that accompanies that. Such as the whole, giving out condoms or making info accessible promotes teen sex (obviously we know it does not, but some people genuinely believe that) Or, drug related example- the recent article on needle exchanges in prisons on here- good god, what a point of contention. To acknowledge inmates are injecting illegal drugs while incarcerated? To allow them to actually admit to this in a way, by exchanging their paraphernalia, and not penalizing them!? I think that is an uphill battle- but I also think that drug use in prisons is inevitable, and that needle exchange there- probably even moreso than outside, due to the population and the situation- would surely reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. But would prison officials, and the public, and the politicians, blah blah actually accept that to the extent needed to reduce harm? Because in order for that to work, they would have to accept knowing which inmates are using drugs and not use that against them in raids or in their cases or in UAs or whatever else, and it would have to be confidential, or else no one would use it and it would be just as worthwhile (worthless) as not having one at all!! So, I see this issue similarly- no one wants to admit that despite our best parental efforts our kids might experiment with alcohol and drugs. But to reduce harm, we have to do certain things rather than pretend it's not happening- I do think it is rather progressive of some states to allow a parent to consent for a teen, so maybe that is the starting point? Things like "safe ride home" hotlines to prevent teen drunk driving, no questions asked, etc. or contracts some parents will make with their teen about picking them up and not punishing them if they need to get out of a situation or need a sober ride.. where do we draw this line?

    But I also have trouble personally wrapping my head around allowing my child to consume alcohol knowing what addiction/alcoholism has done to his biological father (and what addiction, not to alcohol, has done to swim in her past) and to people on both sides of the genetic "tree." It's like a toss-up between thinking that it could prevent dangerous use or addiction by modeling and providing for safer use, and possibly that it would just be contributing to abuse or addiction, and that is a pretty scary decision to have to make. I sorta have no idea what my own attitudes are towards alcohol in some ways, so I guess that my own mixed feelings are a starting point, but on the other hand, I don't know that adopting one firm stance to the exclusion of other viewpoints is necessarily helpful either, I just hope that by talking this out a mutually agreeable process or conclusion can be reached even if I don't know yet what that conclusion will be? I do know that I will have to make concrete decisions like whether or not I think it is ever okay to drink alcohol for a minor (in terms of how I parent, what I teach, and what/whether consequences come about if alcohol is consumed), whether or not to ever again drink it myself or keep it around, etc. (leaning towards no on the latter, just because I don't really like it anyways and want one less thing to worry about in my home- but then I think, if a child has a father who is ravaged by alcoholism, and a mother who is a complete "teetotaler," where on earth is that child going to find a balance? but on the other hand, playing devil's advocate, does it really make sense to keep a substance that one dislikes or is frightened by around and intentionally using it to model something or make a point? Plus, with swim's own addiction history, she does feel she could drink occasionally and responsibly and that is not necessarily wrong or bad, but she also doesn't have the desire to do so right now or maybe ever, and it does scare her what alcohol does to some people.. harm reduction is still a priority in my mind, but it is harder to be rational about it or see what needs to be done when you are thinking of your own family... or when you have no idea what the future holds, and see addiction's genes as a time bomb and wondering if and when it might go off.. it seems either approach could do harm, maybe all one can really do is talk about it and respond to their individual child's needs and their intuition and hope that is enough, because I cannot say now that I have any idea which way I would lean in the interests of harm reduction if this came up, other than to say that I want to be honest and discuss recovery issues throughout my child's life so that it is never a secret or a big "thing" but I don't know that is enough..)

    And like I said, the allure of drinking with peers or binge drinking, even if one is allowed to taste alcohol responsibly at home, may still cause some problems- but I speculate based on other countries' lower rate of teen alcohol abuse that it could work, but potentially only if done on a society-wide basis, and I don't see that happening regardless of law right now, I see a lot of cultural inner conflict over this issue- making a huge issue out of teens drinking, implementing strategies all across the board from harm reduction to criminalization to medicinal/treatment models and it seems no one is on the same page with what is a healthy attitude towards alcohol- part of that may be because of the history of ups and downs and attitude changes, with the prohibition of alcohol and its reversal, and of course the elephant in the room- the link to addiction and other- currently illegal, also potentially harmful and addictive, but in addition, also potentially safe and sociable- drugs.

    Though of course taking some of the allure out of it would help on a personal level (i.e. parenting, talking with kids, letting them try it), society still places that allure on it, and with our culture's bizarre and not so healthy attitudes towards it, I am not surprised that young people drink and obviously that they are influenced by their peers and school settings and media, not just home/parenting influences. It would still possibly be better (to be educated by parents, even if one also drank in less responsible contexts as a teen) because then they would know more about their own tolerance, types and an taste and proof, etc. and could hopefully drink more responsibly even if doing something "irresponsible" like drinking stolen alcohol or drinking with peers in a public place or whatever, but not all problems will be avoided ever, we can only hope to minimize them.. still, it is tough to know what to do as an individual parent, since society still sends certain messages and one cannot really coordinate their parenting efforts with all the other parents of the kids with whom your child will interact, so even one or two parents' best efforts are not always enough given the greater context.. Honestly i don't know the answer and it is a tough one for me knowing that my child is so susceptible.

    So, we say we don't want alcohol consumed excessively by kids with still-developing brains, or condoned for them to use it, but think about the basics of harm reduction- some will still drink, and since we cannot count on everyone to lock up their booze, not buy alcohol for minors, use fake IDs, etc. then we have to acknowledge that it is obtainable and also very common- yes, it is harder to get than illegal drugs, based on the government's big survey, which I believe and is consistent with swim's experience prior to reaching legal drinking age.. but in this case, not being able to get it from a safe reliable vendor did cause a death- not that I am saying we should sell directly to teens, necessarily, just that it is clear that in this case, someone died because of the "black/gray market" context of sorts that still shrouds alcohol for those under the legal age to buy or consume it- leading to teens getting felonies for ID violations, getting robbed when asking someone else to get a bottle for them and the person steals their money or their alcohol, driving with drunk drivers or drinking in unsafe places because they know what they are doing is looked down on, young women risking sexual assault by not knowing their tolerances or drinking in unsafe settings, etc. basically putting them into a criminal mindset in some ways- i.e. "I am already breaking the law by wanting to drink and doing so, it doesn't matter if I steal it, I couldn't buy it legally even if I tried, etc." and yes teens take risks and that is part of the allure since their decision-making skills are NOT fully developed, I don't have the research on hand but I believe research on the brain has shown this to be neurologically based... so this is really sad, and I do not know the answer, and I am not clear on if this even occurred in the US (eta: I see, this is in Canada, so some of my comments are more in relation to my own country/laws, but obviously there are some links and similarities) so maybe the cultural context is not the same but I could see this happening in almost any country where minors cannot legally access alcohol, as I said, I believe most people will remember some of the things they did as teens were not the type of decisions that were well thought through or that they would make today, that happens, but it is really sad whenever someone dies, and while I don't know if this was preventable, it is certainly worth a call to examine our attitudes as a society in general about young people drinking or using substances, harm reduction, and to call for basic health and safety measures like accurately labeling containers which could get easily confused. Beyond that, I don't have the answer, but this is very sad. And I imagine that the friend who lived is pretty devastated too.
  13. Potter
    WOW! I never realized the original bottle had actually been filled with poison by an adult! That's bloody mind blowing.
  14. noAverageJoe
    It is really sad. No matter how one puts it.

    The article ends with this:

    And that's exactly the problem.

    Parents do not teach kinds about this.
    Parents do not teach kids about drugs.
    Parents do not teach their kids the harsh reality of this world.

    What exactly is their job?

    We are not living in never never land swiYou know :(
  15. gonegrowin
    How many parent even know about drugs in the sense that kids use them now? SWIM knows his parents have never even smoked pot. They would never have known what the hell JWH, mephedrone, san pedro cactus, kratom, MDMA, or any of that stuff. Its kind of a new age.

    That being said, you shouldnt need to warn your kids not to drink from random bottles you stole from neighbors garages. How did they not realize it wasnt alcohol after one sip?
  16. anonuser30500
    Rest in peace for the poor kid who died.

    Some here have missed the facts, which others have pointed out. Namely, the youth who died did not steal anything. He was given the bottle by someone who admitted to stealing the bottle.

    The real criminal in this instance is the dumb adult who put a mixture of noxious poisons in a bottle labelled as alcohol. This is a stupid thing to do.

    That said, charging the man who stored it might be a possibility if he set that bottle as bait. Maybe his garage had been hit before.

    Teenagers stealing alcohol happens all the time. Swim did it, likely as not you did also. Sure, its wrong to steal, but the penalty is not and never could be death.

    Claiming this youths death is some survival of the fittest process is a horrible thing to say really. Poor kid made a bad mistake and odds are he was a intelligent caring young teenager.

    You do not have to be stupid to do something stupid.

    Aged 15 Swim would likely have taken anything offered. You don't really have a clue about harm prevention that that age although most young people seem more savvy than Swim was as a young-un.

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