Inhalants are breathable chemical vapors that produce psychoactive mind-altering effects. Younger children and teens tend to abuse inhalants in part because they are readily available and inexpensive. Although unintentional inhalation of household products can occur, inhalant abuseor huffing, is an intentional act.
Each classification of inhalant has its own slang or street names according to the NIDA, including "laughing gas" nitrous oxide"snappers" amyl nitrite" poppers " amyl nitrite and butyl nitrite"whippets" nitrous oxide, found in whipped cream dispensers"bold" nitritesand "rush" nitrites.
Inhalants are breathable chemical vapors often found in common household products that contain volatile solvents or aerosols.
Inhalants fall into four major categories:. Inhalants are sniffed directly from the container, 'huffed' from a cloth saturated with the substance and held close to the face, 'bagged' which is sniffing from a bag with the saturated cloth inside it or put on hands, fingernails or clothing enabling the user to inhale the fumes in public without being detected.
Young people may use inhalants as a substitute for alcohol. Because of its addictive nature, many go on to use it as they grow older. The first substance that many children experiment with are inhalants because they are cheap and available — usually found around the house in the kitchen, laundry room or garage. Older adults who use inhalants are generally chronic abusers.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF INHALANTS
Research suggests that chronic or long-term inhalant abusers are among the most difficult drug abuse patients to treat. Most inhalants produce a rapid high that resembles alcohol intoxication. If sufficient amounts are inhaled, nearly all solvents and gases produce anesthesia, a loss of sensation, and even unconsciousness.
Sudden Sniffing Death can result from a single session of inhalant, even in healthy individuals. This is often associated with the abuse of butane, propane, and chemicals in aerosols. High concentrations of inhalants also can cause death from suffocation by displacing oxygen in the lungs and then in the central nervous system so that breathing ceases.
Deliberately inhaling from a paper or plastic bag or in a closed area greatly increases the chances of suffocation. Heavy users can become addicted to inhalants may suffer cognitive impairment or other neurological dysfunctions which make quitting difficult. Users develop a tolerance for inhalants over time which means it takes more to experience the 'high' that they used to get from smaller amounts. Casual users face the same dangers from using inhalants as heavy users.
A British study of 1, deaths from inhalant use found that of the deaths were to first-time users. Learn the best ways to manage stress and negativity in your life. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Drug Enforcement Administration. More in Addiction. Volatile Solvents: Volatile solvents are industrial, household, art or office supply solvents or solvent-containing products.Get the latest information from CDC Coronavirus.
Although other substances that are misused can be inhaled, the term inhalants refers to the various substances that people typically take only by inhaling. These substances include:.
Inhalants are various products easily bought and found in the home or workplace—such as spray paints, markers, glues, and cleaning fluids. They contain dangerous substances that have psychoactive mind-altering properties when inhaled.
People don't typically think of these products as drugs because they're not intended for getting high, but some people use them for that purpose. When these substances are used for getting high, they are called inhalants. Inhalants are mostly used by young kids and teens and are the only class of substance used more by younger than by older teens.
People who use inhalants breathe in the fumes through their nose or mouth, usually by sniffing, snorting, bagging, or huffing. Although the high that inhalants produce usually lasts just a few minutes, people often try to make it last by continuing to inhale again and again over several hours.
Solvents industrial or household products, including: paint thinners or removers dry-cleaning fluids gasoline lighter fluid art or office supply solvents, including: correction fluids felt-tip marker fluid electronic contact cleaners glue Aerosols household aerosol items, including: spray paints hair or deodorant sprays aerosol computer cleaning products vegetable oil sprays Gases.
Most inhalants affect the central nervous system and slow down brain activity. Short-term effects are similar to alcohol and include:. With repeated inhalations, many people feel less self-conscious and less in control.
Some may start vomiting, feel drowsy for several hours, or have a headache that lasts a while. Unlike other types of inhalants, nitrites, which are often prescribed to treat chest pain, are misused in order to improve sexual pleasure by expanding and relaxing blood vessels. In addition, because nitrites are misused for sexual pleasure and performance, they can lead to unsafe sexual practices or other risky behavior.
Read more about drug use and hepatitis at our webpage about viral hepatitis. Yes, a person can overdose on inhalants. An overdose occurs when a person uses too much of a drug and has a toxic reaction that results in serious, harmful symptoms or death. These symptoms can cause seizures and coma. They can even be deadly. Many solvents and aerosol sprays are highly concentrated, meaning they contain a large amount of chemicals with a lot of active ingredients.
Sniffing these products can cause the heart to stop within minutes. This condition, known as sudden sniffing deathcan happen to otherwise healthy young people the first time they use an inhalant. Using inhalants with a paper or plastic bag or in a closed area may cause death from suffocation being unable to breathe.
Because inhalant overdose can lead to seizures or cause the heart to stop, first responders and emergency room doctors try to treat the overdose by treating these conditions. They will try to stop the seizure or restart the heart. Although it's not very common, repeated use of inhalants can lead to addiction, a form of substance use disorder SUD.
An SUD develops when continued use of the drug causes issues, such as health problems and failure to meet responsibilities at work, school, or home. An SUD can range from mild to severe, the most severe form being addiction.
Some people seeking treatment for use of inhalants have found behavioral therapy to be helpful:. More research is needed to identify the most effective treatment options for addiction to inhalants. National Institute on Drug Abuse website.Inhalants are common household, industrial and medical products that produce vapours, which some people inhale breathe in to make them feel intoxicated or high.
Short and Long-Term Effects of Inhalant Drugs
Inhalants are breathed in through the nose or mouth. They may be sprayed into a plastic bag, poured into a bottle or soaked onto a cloth or sleeve before being inhaled.
Sometimes they are inhaled directly from the container or are sprayed directly into the mouth or nose. This method is very dangerous because it can cause suffocation. There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk. If you inhale a substance many times or use a particularly strong inhalant, you could overdose. Inhaling aerosol sprays, cleaning and correction fluids, and model aeroplane cement has been known to cause sudden death.
It is believed that chemicals in these products can cause heart failure, particularly if the person is stressed or does heavy exercise after inhaling. This is very rare. Most of these long-term effects can be reversed if use is stopped.
However, some inhalants, such as cleaning products, correction fluid, aerosol sprays and petrol can cause permanent damage. Some chemicals can build up in the body and damage the stomach, intestines, brain, nervous system, kidneys and liver. The effects of taking inhalants with other drugs — including over-the-counter or prescribed medications — can be unpredictable and dangerous, and could include:.
Giving up inhalants after using them for a long time is challenging because the body has to get used to functioning without them.
Withdrawal symptoms usually start hours after the last use, and may last for 2 to 5 days. If your use of inhalants is affecting your health, family, relationships, work, school, financial or other life situations, you can find help and support.
Drug List Drug Wheel. Last published: June 26, Print. What are inhalants? How are they used? Effects of inhalants There is no safe level of drug use. Inhalants affect everyone differently, based on: size, weight and health whether the person is used to taking it whether other drugs are taken around the same time the amount taken the strength of the drug amount of fresh air breathed while sniffing amount of physical activity before and after sniffing.
Sniffing can cause: intoxication nausea headaches injuries delirium seizures pneumonia from inhaling vomit dependence brain damage coma abnormal heart rhythm sudden death asphyxiation if using a plastic bag. Inhalants Fact sheet Read more about withdrawal.
Getting help If your use of inhalants is affecting your health, family, relationships, work, school, financial or other life situations, you can find help and support.Inhalants produce effects that can be similar to alcohol use and are most commonly abused by teens.
They are easy to acquire and often found in the household. Call Now. Treatment Center Locator. No matter where you live, there is a drug rehab center that can help you overcome your addiction. Find a Treatment Center. Even though national surveys indicate that However, inhalants do have addictive qualities. People who use inhalants on a regular basis over a long period of time can develop a physical and psychological dependence on the substance. Inhalant use is most prevalent among teenagers.
Studies suggest that between People who are unable to control their inhalant use despite knowing the negative consequences and health effects are generally considered to have an addiction. Even those with an overwhelming desire to stop abusing inhalants may be unable to do so. The ready availability of inhalants at home and in stores may make it difficult for someone with a severe addiction to quit on their own. Get Help Today. Inhalants are volatile, often flammable substances that vaporize at room temperature.
Inhalants encompass a wide variety of chemicals and anesthetics categorized together based on their method of administration: inhalation. These substances are often referred to as whippets, laughing gas, huff or hippie crack. Inhalant abuse includes the misuse of household solvents, gases and anesthetics. Household inhalants can be anything from cleaning products to gasoline. Anesthetics are gases used to medically reduce sensitivity to pain. Nitrous oxide and chloroform are some well-known anesthetics.
This gas is also used in cans of whipped cream, which is where most abusers get it. Amyl nitrite is also a popular inhalant that has been used to increase blood flow in people with heart disease. Nitrites are oftentimes subjugated to their own class of inhalants because they act primarily as a muscle relaxant, different from the effects of other inhalants. Enter your number to receive a call from a compassionate treatment expert. Contact a treatment expert at They are therefore substances whose main use is not consumption.
Evidently, this defining characteristic of inhalant drugs covers a wide range of chemical substances. In fact, nowadays, multiple elements that can be inhaled and produce psychoactive effects have been described.
Respiratory inhalant products
Some examples of inhaled drugs are glues, gasolines, paints or deodorants, among many others. Each of the substances that make up this type of psychoactive elements can cause different effects.
The fact that inhaled drugs are not products designed for consumption and recreational use, motivates a high unpredictability of its effects and consequences. The consumption of these substances is increasingly prevalent in our society.
The main factors that motivate the increase in consumption is the reduced price of inhalants compared to other types of drugs. In this sense, the classification and determination of the characteristics, effects and consequences of inhaled drugs is one of the main topics of interest in drug addiction research.
In this article the types of inhalants that have been described today are discussed and reviewed, their characteristics, their effects, their prevalence and the medical consequences they cause. The classification of inhaled drugs is one of the main complications that these substances present. There are many elements that can cause psychoactive effects when inhaled, so that achieving them in categories is highly complex.
Given this situation, despite its limitations, the classification system that has obtained greater scientific evidence proposes four categories. In this sense, inhalant drugs can be grouped into four different types: volatile solvents, aerosols, gases and nitrites. Volatile solvents are liquid substances that vaporize at room temperature. They can be found in a wide variety of affordable and easily accessible products, which is why their consumption is simple and increasingly prevalent in society.
Volatile solvents include products for domestic and industrial use, such as: thinners, paint removers, dry cleaning liquids, degreasers, gasoline, glues and liquid correctors. Obviously, these elements are not produced or marketed for recreational purposes.
Its functions are not intended for consumption, however, if inhaled produce psychoactive effects, so they can act as drugs. The aerosol is a colloid of solid or liquid particles suspended in a gas.
In fact, the term aerosol refers to both the particles and the gas in which they are suspended. Thus, these substances are sprinklers that contain propellants and solvents. Some products with these characteristics are spray paints, deodorants, hair fixers, cooking oil sprinklers or sprinklers to protect fabrics and fabrics. Its consumption is done through the same route as the rest of inhaling drugs, that is, inhalation.
The administration of these substances can cause important psychoactive effects. Gases are substances of low density that can extend indefinitely. Inhalant gases include multiple substances that, when consumed, cause direct effects on the functioning of the brain. The most consumed are medical anesthetics such as ether, chloroform, halothane and, above all, nitrous oxide.
Nitrites are substances formed by salts or esters from nitrous acid. These elements appear by biological oxidation of amines and ammonia or by reduction of nitrate in anaerobic conditions.
This type of substances deserve a differentiation from the rest of inhalant drugs, since they produce different effects. The nitrites perform a wide dilation of the blood vessels and relax the muscles, so they are not consumed to alter the mood, but the state of the body. Although amyl nitrite was previously used as a treatment for angina pectoris, the commercialization of these substances is now prohibited. The defining characteristic of inhaled drugs is their mode of consumption.After an initial high and loss of inhibition comes drowsiness, light-headedness and agitation.
The chemicals are rapidly absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream and quickly reach the brain and other organs, sometimes causing irreversible physical and mental damage. Some spray the substance directly into the nose or mouth, or pour it onto their collar, sleeves or cuffs and sniff them periodically.
Bagging in a closed area greatly increases the chances of suffocation. Learn the Truth About Drugs, enroll in the free online courses. Find out the truth about inhalants. Request your free copy of the booklet, The Truth About Inhalants. Sign the pledge and lead the way to a drug-free life.
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Email Address. What Are Inhalants. Are Inhalants Addictive? International Statistics. Different Types of Inhalants. Are Inhalants Legal? Inhalants: A Short History. The Truth About Drugs. Thank you for subscribing. Contact Us. Start Free E-Courses. Take the Quiz. Download Booklets. Law Enforcement. Sign the Drug-Free Pledge. Start an Online Class.Inhalants are chemicals found in certain household and workplace products that produce chemical vapors. These vapors can be inhaled to induce mind-altering effects.
Inhaled substances are rapidly absorbed into the brain to produce a quick high. Chronic abuse of inhalants can result in irreversible side effects, such as coma and even death.
The peak age of inhalant abuse is age 14 to However, abuse is seen in children as young as 5 to 6 years of age. In many cases, abuse declines by 17 to 19 years of age. However, abuse can continue into adulthood. Inhalant abuse is more common in males than females. Rates are also higher in people of lower income, the mentally ill, those living in rural communities and those in communities with high unemployment rates.
There are more than 1, commonly used household and workplace products that can be abused as inhalants. Inhalants are convenient, inexpensive, easy to hide and legal. There are four general categories of inhalants: volatile solvents, aerosols, gases, and nitrites. Volatile solvents are liquids that vaporize at room temperature. They are used for household and industrial purposes. Examples of volatile solvents are:. Gases include medical anesthetics as well as gases used in household or commercial products.
Medical anesthetics include chloroform, halothane, and nitrous oxide laughing gas. Nitrous oxide can also be found in products that boost octane levels in racing cars. Other household products containing gas are butane lighters, propane tanks and refrigerants.
Nitrites are chemical compounds found in leather cleaner, liquid aroma and room deodorizers. Nitrites act directly on the central nervous system. They dilate blood vessels and relax smooth muscles. The ability of nitrites to relax smooth muscle has made their use popular for sexual enhancement.
Nitrites include cyclohexyl nitrite, isoamyl amyl nitrite, and isobutyl butyl nitrite. They are commonly known as "poppers" or "snappers. When individuals abuse inhalants, they breathe them in through the nose or mouth in a variety of ways. They may sniff or snort fumes from a container or dispenser, spray aerosols directly into the nose or mouth, or place a chemical-soaked rag over the mouth or nose.
They may also inhale substances from a balloon or a plastic or paper bag. The high from inhalants only lasts a couple of minutes, so abusers prolong it by repeating sniffing over several hours. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Inhalant Abuse Studies have shown that teaching adolescents life skills training in school has helped reduce inhalant use.