Belfast man arrested for using inhalants behind the wheel

Allegedly holding can of duster when pulled over by police
Posted:  Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - 8:45pm

BELFAST — A Belfast man has been charged after being found operating under the influence of inhalants on Route 1 on Jan. 13, according to Officer Rick Smith, of the Belfast Police Department.

Brian C. Sanderson, 39, first came to the attention of Belfast Police after a complaint was made about his vehicle sitting in the parking lot of the Belfast Fire Department.

When police responded Sanderson was reportedly unconscious, though he awoke within roughly a minute of police arrival. According to Officer Smith, the symptoms of inhalant intoxication are often extremely acute, with the “high’’ lasting roughly a minute before the user returns to a normal state.

Smith is the Belfast Police Department’s designated drug recognition person, having received additional training in methods of identifying intoxication under a wide variety of substances. Though he was not on scene, Smith consulted with the arresting officer about the symptoms of inhalant abuse.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Exposure to high doses can cause confusion and delirium. In addition, inhalant abusers may experience dizziness, drowsiness, slurred speech, lethargy, depressed reflexes, general muscle weakness, and stupor.”

Dust Off is a brand of compressed gas dust cleaner, typically used to clean computer keyboards and other electronics. The product can be found at a variety of stores, and contains a bittering agent added specifically to dissuade would-be abusers by making the gas taste unpleasant.  

Though Sanderson was not arrested during his initial contact with police, he was warned not to drive.

A short time later Waldo County Dispatch received a complaint of an erratic driver on Route 1, Smith said.

Responding officers found Sanderson driving on the wrong side of the road. He was reportedly holding a can of Dust-Off when initially approached by police.

Sanderson was arrested and charged with operating under the influence, driving to endanger, two charges of unlawful possession of inhalants, and operating a defective motor vehicle.

Erica Thoms can be reached at