What are Inhalants?
Many household products that are found readily in the home or workplace contain volatile ingredients that, when taken in such a way, can produce euphoric and/or psychoactive effects. These products include spray paints, markers, cleaning fluids, and glue, just to name a few. Normally people do not consider these products as drugs because they were not made for that purpose and, apart from a few who suffer from inhalants addiction and abuse, most do not use inhalants in any way other than as intended.
Inhalants can be organized into four categories:
Household aerosol products include items such as spray paint, deodorants, cooking oil, cleaning products, and hair sprays. Aerosols have propellants and solvents that contain volatile properties.
Similar to their medical anesthetic counterparts (such as nitrous oxide and chloroform), gases found in household products are used recreationally to achieve euphoric effects. These inhalants include butane lighters, refrigerants, propane tanks, and whipped cream canisters.
As they evaporate, these inhalants release vapors that can be inhaled. Volatile solvents can be found in the most mundane of household products such as markers and glue. Industrial products like paint thinners, gasoline, and dry-cleaning fluids contain inhalants.
This category of inhalants is different in that they directly affect the central nervous system. Nitrites are used primarily as sexual enhancers and include cyclohexyl nitrite, amyl nitrite and isobutyl.
Common Inhalant Street Names
There are many inhalants street names, depending on which classification of inhalants, and can include:
- Air Blast
- Laughing Gas
- Aroma of Men
- Hippie Crack
- Texas Shoe Shine
- Locker Room
History and Trends in Inhalants Addiction and Abuse
There are thousands of products commonly sold in stores that can be used for inhalants abuse. For the majority of these products, users will breathe in the vapors of the inhalants through the mouth, called “huffing.” Another way users will take in these drugs is via a rag or towel that has been soaked in the inhalant and stuffed in the mouth, to be “huffed” in this fashion.
While some prefer sniffing in the fumes of the inhalants containers to breath in the drugs, others prefer the huffing technique, or spraying the inhalant directly from the aerosol can into the nose or mouth.
A third technique those suffering from inhalants addiction and abuse is through “bagging.” In this technique, users breathe in the fumes of the inhalants from a bag or balloon. The fumes will be sprayed into the vessel, usually a paper or plastic bag, from which they will be inhaled.
The euphoric feeling users experience from inhalants addiction and abuse lasts a very short amount of time, usually ending in a matter of minutes. For this reason, individuals seeking to prolong the effects of an inhalants high will inhale the substance repeatedly over a span of an hour or more.
Inhalants Side Effects
The effects of inhalants on the user are somewhat to similar to the use of alcohol. Side effects of inhalants can include:
- Reduced coordination
- Feelings of euphoria
- Slurred speech
- Enhanced sexual pleasure (in nitrites)
Inhalants abuse and its side effects can be fatal. Heart failure can happen within moments of inhaling such highly concentrated toxins. What is known as “sudden sniffing death” can happen in just one session of inhalants abuse.
Signs of Inhalants Addiction and Abuse
Inhalants, because they are so readily available in basically every home, have become popular among adolescents. From around the 8th grade and up, children and teenagers have been known to participate in inhalants abuse. A 2016 study performed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that 7.7% of 8th graders, 6.6% of 12th grade students, and 5.0% of high school seniors have used inhalants over their lifetime. It is important to note, however, that in all three grades surveyed, lifetime use had decreased from the previous year.
Signs of inhalants addiction and abuse can include:
- Strong chemical odor on the individual
- Staining or marks on the face and hands
- Discarded empty spray cans or towels or rags that have been soaked in some chemical
- Slurred speech
- Decreased coordination
As previously mentioned, the short-term effects of inhalants abuse may resemble that of alcohol intoxication. Drowsiness and/or dizziness, uninhibited actions, and agitation can follow inhalants abuse. After sustained long-term inhalants addiction or abuse, loss of sensation and consciousness from inhaling large amounts of vapors can lead to coma, seizures, choking and/or suffocation and even death.
Inhalants Addiction and Abuse Treatment
After suddenly stopping inhalants abuse, the user may experience withdrawal symptoms similar to those of narcotics. Inhalants withdrawal symptoms include:
- Body aches and pains
To assist in detox, assistance from a treatment facility may be necessary. In a rehab setting, the patient can undergo a medically assisted detoxification process and a neurological assessment and counseling that will aid in their successful recovery.
If you or your loved one is suffering from inhalants addiction, don’t hesitate to seek help. Call White Sands Tampa today at 1-877-640-7820.