There are many types of addictive drugs. There are the ones taken orally. Some are rolled as a cigarette and smoked. Some are snorted as powder or injected as suspension. And some are sniffed as fumes.
What are inhalants?
You might have experienced it yourself – the smell of glue or gasoline seems to be pleasant. However, beyond the single whiff is a state of feeling high. These substances whose fumes can cause an immediate high when sniffed in sufficient amounts are called inhalants. Inhalants in slang terms are sometimes called Glue, Kick, Bang, Sniff, Huff, Poppers, Whippets, Texas Shoeshine. Not only are inhalants addictive, they can also be very toxic.
What are the most commonly used inhalants?
Unfortunately, inhalants are easily available right within the four walls of our own home. Normal everyday household products can be used as inhalants. The most common inhalants are:
- Air freshener
- Nail polish and remover
- Aerosol sprays
- Paint thinner
- Correction fluid
- Marker pens
- Some cleaning fluids
In addition, specially prepared inhalants such as amyl nitrite and isobutyl nitrite (“poppers”) and nitrous oxide (“whippets”) are at discos, night clubs and concerts.
What are the adverse effects of inhalants?
- Inhalants have adverse effects on your heart health. When you sniff glue instead of fresh air, you are starving your body of essential oxygen. Your heart starts to beat irregularly.
- Inhalants produce side effects such as nausea and nose bleeding.
- Inhalants can also affect other organs including the kidney, liver, and lungs.
- Chronic use of inhalants can lead to smelling and hearing impairment and muscle atrophy.
- Inhalants can cause brain damage.
- Inhalants can kill. Inhalant-induced heart attack and suffocation can lead to death.
- Inhalants can also cause accidental poisoning among very small children.
Who uses inhalants?
Inhalant users are usually young. A 2006 study showed that 1.3% of teenagers in the US have used inhalants. In developing countries, the use of inhalants is common among street children and adolescents since they could not afford mainstream recreational drugs.
What are the signs of inhalant abuse?
Some of the most common signs of inhalant abuse are:
- Slurred speech
- Drunk, dizzy, or dazed appearance
- Unusual breath odor
- Chemical smell on clothing
- Paint stains on body or face
- Red eyes
- Runny nose
If you think a friend or a family member is addicted to inhalants, encourage that person to seek professional help before permanent health damage – or worse – death occurs.