Sniffing Painted Babies

1983: Reports of a bizarre new way of getting high surfaced in the small town of Grants, New Mexico.

addicts who can't afford more conventional narcotics are getting high by sniffing gilded infants painted gold or silver, police believe... [Police chief] Thurber said that during recent drug raids his men got word "on the street" of the practice of painting babies and passing the glistening infants around to be sniffed to get high.

Miami Herald - Feb 11, 1983

Six years later, the Weeky World News reported that this strange practice had spread to France. But since the WWN is the only source I can find about this later outbreak, I'd take it with a grain of salt.

Weekly World News - Mar 7, 1989

via Legends & Rumors
     Posted By: Alex - Wed Mar 24, 2021
     Category: Drugs | 1980s

Remembering how the WWN worked, I would put it down to an enthusiastic copy writer recycling the New Mexico story with embellishment. Something to fill in a gap in the weeks edition.

I think the first story has its root in the "Goldfinger" story, where the death of a character is attributed to being completely painted everywhere.
Posted by KDP on 03/24/21 at 08:54 PM
Frankly, I think both stories were written by reporters who had themselves sniffed a bit too much of the offset inks. Metallic paint I could believe, but babies as a medium? That's the bastard child of Frank L. Baum and Reefer Madness.
Posted by Richard Bos on 03/27/21 at 09:31 AM
"Huffers" would spray gold or silver spray paint containing toluene into a paper bag and then place the bag over their mouth and nose and inhale. They could get a euphoric or hallucinogenic effect. Always easy to spot users as their face around the mouth and nose would be the color of the paint. I would not think one could get the same effect from sniffing a baby.
Posted by Steve E. on 03/28/21 at 12:08 PM
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