Inhalants Substance Abuse - Inhalants Addiction

Inhalants Substance Abuse - Inhalants Addiction drug rehabilitation and alcohol rehabilitation

Inhalants Abused For Its Intoxicating Effects

Inhalants are actually legal products that are used every day but extremely toxic and deadly when abused. These household products contain toxic chemicals which create mind altering 'highs' when an individual inhales the toxic vapors. Inhalant intoxication can be somewhat compared to alcohol intoxication but is much more dangerous.

There are several different inhalants that are abused by those who prefer getting high or intoxicated this way. These products can be found everywhere and are relatively inexpensive to abuse. Because many of these toxic products are used every day in our homes the inhalant abuser doesn't even have to leave the house in order to get high. Individuals that abuse inhalants don't have to go any further than their kitchen sink, bathroom sink, or in the garage.

Who Abuses Inhalants?

Inhalant abuse is very widespread and is a major concern throughout the United States. Nitrates are the inhalants that adults would commonly abuse. Most of the time adolescents and young teens between the ages of 12 and 15 tend to be the ones that abuse inhalants the most. An inhalant abuser that's just starting out abusing toxic chemicals at the beginning usually inhales glue, shoe polish, spray paints, gasoline, and lighter fluid. Sixteen and Seventeen year olds that are just beginning to abuse inhalants tend to choose nitrous oxide chemicals which are also referred to as 'whippets'.

None of the products that are abused were ever manufactured for this purpose but when there's a 'will', there's a way and when someone is looking for a way to get high they'll find it. Below is a list of just some of the inhalants individuals' abuse.

  • Deodorant spray
  • Correction fluid
  • Felt tip markers
  • Refrigerant gasses
  • Vegetable oil sprays
  • Dry cleaning chemicals
  • Fabric protector spray
  • Computer cleaning products
  • Paint thinner and paint remover
  • Whipped cream aerosols (whippets)
  • Butane lighters and lighter fluid
  • Air fresheners and room deodorizers
  • Glue
  • Gasoline
  • Halothane
  • Chloroform
  • Degreasers
  • Hair spray
  • Spray paint
  • Rubber cement
  • Nitrous oxide
  • Propane tanks
  • Cleaning fluid
  • Varnish remover


Nitrates are used as sexual enhancers and are also considered abused inhalants. Amyl nitrates are known as 'poppers' and are used in some medical procedures but are abused by many for the euphoria. These organic nitrates can be found in small brown bottles that are marked as; video head cleaner, room deodorizer, leather cleaner and liquid aroma for illegal sale only.

How does a person abuse Inhalants?

There are several ways inhalants are abused but they are inhaled through the nose and mouth. This is also known as 'huffing'. Ways in which huffing is done include:

  1. Sniffing (breathing) toxic fumes and vapors from a container.
  2. Spraying aerosols into the nose or mouth.
  3. Soaking a rag in the inhalant then putting it in their mouth to breathe in the fumes.
  4. Putting the fumes in a balloon, plastic bag, or paper bag then inhaling and breathing in the toxic vapors (this has proven to be deadly especially when done in an unventilated area).

Because the effects are short-term and don't last long the inhalant user repeats inhaling the fumes over and over again and this could last for a couple of hours.

Serious and Dangerous Risks Associated with Inhalant Abuse

If a user inhales enough of the toxic fumes and gasses they can actually experience a loss of sensation or become completely unconscious. There are serious inhalant effects that can cause loss of hearing, spasms of the limbs, central nervous system damage, brain damage, and bone marrow damage. If the concentration of toxic fumes and gasses are high enough it can result in death from heart failure or suffocation. This can take place within minutes of a huffing session no matter how healthy the person is, which is referred to as 'sudden sniffing death'.

Signs of Inhalant Abuse

There are signs you can look for if you suspect someone you know is abusing a substance but aren't sure what it is. Listed below are a few of the signs if the substance of abuse is inhalants:

  1. The individual appears to be intoxicated or drunk
  2. Runny red nose
  3. Decreased appetite or nausea
  4. Speech is slurred
  5. Sores and rashes around the nose or mouth area
  6. Empty spray paint containers or other solvent containers laying around or more often hidden
  7. Paint or other stains on their face, hands, or clothes
  8. Smelling strong chemical odors on their breath or clothes
  9. Clothing hidden or rags that have been soaked with chemicals lying around or more often hidden

What does 'huffing' inhalants to your health?

In 2010 a report was put out by the NSDUH which is a National Survey on Drug Use and Health that reported that several respiratory medical conditions in adolescents were linked to their inhalant abuse. The information includes data combined from 2006 to 2008. About 1.0 million young people ages 12 to 17 abused some type of inhalant within the last year of being surveyed.

Within the year prior to the survey respiratory medical conditions linked to inhalant abuse were asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis and sinusitis. 143,000 of those surveyed had at least one of these medical respiratory conditions.

  1. Severe coughing
  2. Painful inflammation of the respiratory system
  3. Nosebleeds
  4. Breathing airways become irritated and inflamed

Inhalant abuse is extremely dangerous and medically damages a person's health.

The inhalant abuser risks unconsciousness, suffocation, coma or death especially when inhaling vapors from a bag or balloon for an extended period of time. The reason this is dangerous is because inhaling toxic vapors and gasses in high levels replaces the oxygen in your lungs. Before you know it there's no oxygen going through your lungs and throughout your body, just toxic chemicals and vapors. There are certain harmful effects that are irreversible or permanent such as:

  1. Spasms of the limbs (permanent) due to abusing glues, gasoline, whipped cream dispensers, and gas cylinders.

  2. Damage to the central nervous system or brain damage (permanent) is due to abusing spray paints, glues, and wax removers.

  3. Loss of hearing (permanent) due to abusing spray paints, glues, wax remover, dry cleaning chemicals and correction fluids.

This video shows the story of a family whom lost their son due to huffing "Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome". The video also provides educational information on the dangers of huffing. Just remember it only takes one time of abusing inhalants then you’re dead. Are you willing to play Russian roulette with your life?


Can Abusing Inhalants be Deadly?

There are hundreds of news stories, articles and video's out there, yes inhalant abuse can take your life and has, many times. Just Watch This Video


Is There Treatment Programs Available for Inhalant Abuse?

Medical treatment may be necessary if the individual has respiratory problems due to their abuse of inhalants. Detoxification programs sometimes are also necessary depending on the extent and duration of inhalant use.

Substance abuse treatment may be needed especially if the user is a chronic inhalant abuser. Many drug users abuse more than 1 drug or substance at a time. Drug treatment and rehabilitation has proven to be extremely effective treating drug addiction.

Cognitive therapy and counseling are also effective helping the individual make better choices. Many substance abusers have underlying emotional reasons that need to be addressed; emotional problems that don't get talked about and worked through can lead to drug, alcohol and chemical abuse because that's their way of 'escaping'.

Websites Used
National Institute on Drug Abuse
NIDA Info-Facts
National Drug Intelligence Center-The abuse of inhalants
NSDUH Report
News Story Video

Inhalants Reference Gallery

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