WHAT ARE INHALANTS?
The term “inhalants” refers to more than a thousand household and commercial products that contain breathable chemical vapors that produce psychoactive effects. These products are composed of colatire solvents and substances commonly found in commercial adhesives, lighter fluids, cleaning solvents, and paint products.
WHAT DO INHALANTS LOOK LIKE?
Inhalants come in the form of spray paint, gasoline, glue, markers, lighter fluid, household solvents, correction fluids, etc.
HOW ARE INHALANTS CONSUMED?
Inhalant users can ingest substancesin various ways that include inhaling directly from containers for products such as rubber cement or correction fluid, sniffing fumes from plastic bags helf over the mouth and nose, or sniffing a cloth aturated with the substances.
WHAT DO INHALANTS DO TO ME?
Upon inhalation, the body becomes starved of oxygen, forcing the heart to beat more
rapidly in an attempt to increase blood flow to the brain. The user initially experiences stimulation, a loss of inhibition, and a distorted perception of reality and spatial relations. After a few minutes, the senses become depressed and a sense of lethargy arises as the body attempts to stabilize blood flow to the brain, usually referred as a “head rush.”
Nearly all abused inhalants produce short-term effects similar to anesthetics, which act to slow down the body’s functions. When inhaled in sufficient concentrations, inhalants can cause intoxification usually lasting only a few minutes. However, sometimes users extend this effect for several hours by breathing in inhalants repeatedly. Repeated inhalations make th em feel less inhibited and less in control. If use continues, users can lose consciousness.
Inhalants fall into the following categories: Solvents, Gases, and Nitrites. Solvents include industrial or household solvents including paint thinners or removers, gasoline, and glue. Also, office supply solvents including correction fluids and felt-tip-marker fluid. Gases used in household or commercial products include butane lighters and propane tanks, whipped cream aerosols or dispensers. Household aerosol propellants and associated solvents in items such as spray paints, hair or deodorant sprays and fabric protector sprays are also included. Nitrtrites are volatile that include cyclohexyl, butyl, and amyl nitrites and are commonly known as “poppers.”
Sniffing highly concentrated amounts of the chemicals in solvents or aerosol sprays can directly induce heart failure and death within minutes of a session of repeated inhalations. Sudden sniffing death is particularly 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. Chronic abuse of solvents can cause severe, long term damage to the brain, the liver and the kidneys.
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse