Inhalants are common products found right in the home and are among the most popular and deadly substances kids abuse. Read More ›
Inhalants are common products found right in the home and are among the most popular and deadly substances kids abuse. Inhalant abuse can result in death from the very first use. About one in five kids report having used inhalants by the eighth grade. They sniff or "huff" ordinary household products like nail polish remover, cleaning fluid, gasoline, and spray paint.
Inhalants are breathable chemical vapors that produce psychoactive (mind-altering) effects. Although people are exposed to volatile solvents and other inhalants in the home and in the workplace, many do not think of "inhalable" substances as drugs because most of them were never meant to be used in that way.
Inhalants fall into the following categories:
Physical Hazards. Nearly all abused inhalants produce effects similar to anesthetics, which act to slow down the body's functions. When inhaled in sufficient concentrations, inhalants can cause intoxicating effects that can last only a few minutes or several hours if inhalants are taken repeatedly. Initially, users may feel slightly stimulated; with successive inhalations, they may feel less inhibited and less in control; finally, a user can lose consciousness.
Irreversible Hazards. Sniffing highly concentrated amounts of the chemicals in solvents or aerosol sprays can directly induce heart failure and death. This is especially common from the abuse of fluorocarbons and butane-type gases. High concentrations of inhalants also cause death from suffocation by displacing oxygen in the lungs and then in the central nervous system so that breathing ceases.
Other irreversible effects caused by inhaling specific solvents are:
Source: The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign