Inhalant use refers to huffing a gas or vapor with the explicit purpose of getting high. Unfortunately, inhalant use is considered a gateway drug because most teens start using inhalants when they’re in elementary or middle school. Inhalants can be anything from a can of spray paint, white-out correction fluid, or even keyboard cleaner. Most of these chemicals are readily available in hardware store and many kids may find these drugs in the garage or even in their desk at home. Inhalants are particularly dangerous because using the inhalant just once can cause sudden death syndrome.
Getting high off of an inhalants can be as simple as purchasing cleaning supplies, solvents or even paints. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides more info on inhalants in this article. The article illustrated the fact that even common substances can be abused as an inhalant. Those substances can be liquid chemicals such as shoe polish, toluene, gasoline, lighter fluid, and even spray paint.
Inhalants cause a variety of long and short term effects that are anything but pleasant. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), short term side effects include feelings of being lightheaded, nausea, and agitation. If solvents are inhaled for a prolonged period of time then the user could eventually lose consciousness. Long term effects may include convulsions or seizures because when electrical discharges in the brain become abnormal, the brain can shut down all but the most vital functions causing a coma. Brain damage, destruction of nerve fibers, and other neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis can be the result of inhalants usage over a long period of time.
Short term abuse of inhalants can be reversed; however the long term effects of prolonged use causes irreversible damage. Using a commonplace object outside of its intended purpose is considered abuse and inhalant abuse is very dangerous. Please call us right away if you or someone you love is abusing inhalants.