Monday, November 20th, 2017

Inhalant Use


Inhalant use is known as the abuse of chemical inhalants to achieve a feeling of euphoria, intoxication, or in other words a “high”. Inhalant use is better known as “huffing” for the way in which the chemical inhalants are used. There are thousands of commercial, household, and medical products that can use for huffing or inhalant use. Inhalant use can become addicting although its more grave effects are permanent brain damage, organ damage or even sudden death.

Inhalant use is extremely popular among younger teens and children. Huffing or inhalant use is an extremely common form of getting “high. Inhalant use or huffing is the fourth common abused substance used by young teens or children from grades 8-12 right after alcohol, marijuana, and cigarettes. Around 17 million Americans have experienced inhalant use or huffed at least once in their lives and by 8th grade one in five young teens or children has experimented with inhalant use at least once.

There are multiple types of different chemical inhalants that can be used for huffing. Inhalant use can be explained for being so common by the ease and availability in which each inhalant can be found. The types of inhalants that are used for huffing can be separated into four different categories: Gases, nitrates, aerosols, and volatile solvents. All of these categories of inhalants when used severely affect the central nervous system of a person. Some of the most common volatile solvents for inhalant use are but not limited to:

  • Dry cleaning fluid
  • Felt tip markers
  • Gasoline
  • Glue
  • Paint remover and Paint thinner

Some of the commonly abused household inhalant aerosols are but not limited to:

  • Spray deodorant
  • Spray paint
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • Hair spray

Gases are probably the hardest to acquire for those who are huffing. Some of the gases that are used for inhalant use are but not limited to:

  • Nitrous Oxide also known as “whip its”
  • Butane (lighters)
  • Whip Cream containers which also contain nitrous oxide
  • Ether
  • Chloroform
  • Propane

Almost all of these chemicals used for inhalant use cause intoxication and euphoria. Nitrates are an exception with huffers or inhalant users describing huffing nitrates as increasing sexual function and/or sensations. Some nitrates can be found in household products but most are prescribed or illegal. For instance some nitrates used for inhalant use are but not limited to:

  • Cyclohexyl nitrate (room deodorizers)
  • Butyl nitrate (illegal street drug)
  • Isoamyl/amyl nitrate (prescription drug for heart pain) These are also sold on the street and are known as “poppers”

The way inhalant use works is the chemicals listed above are inhaled and absorbed through the lungs and from there move throughout the body and into the brain within minutes. The person due to inhalant use may experience slurred speech, act dizzy or drunk, and euphoria. Inhalant use only last for a few minutes or even seconds. There are multiple health risks that come along with inhalant use of huffing and they are but not limited to:

  • Attention problems
  • Brain and nervous system damage
  • Death by choking
  • Death by suffocation
  • Delirium
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dementia
  • Spasticity
  • Impaired judgment
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatal accidents

Inhalant use can be extremely dangerous and even fatal. A person can “huff” an inhalant just one time and die, that’s how dangerous inhalant abuse is. This is known as a sniffing death or sudden death due to huffing inhalants.

Inhalant use is something that is not widely recognized as being a problem which hinders common knowledge about this abuse from spreading. Educate yourself on inhalant abuse, especially if you have children since abuse is starting early within the middle school years.