Inhalants are chemical vapors are breathed in by users of the drug. Inhalants drugs are actually your common household products. Examples of inhalants are spray paints, glues, and cleaning fluids. These chemicals and their vapors are very toxic and can be quite deadly.
Inhalants all fall under the under the following categories: volatile solvents, aerosols, gases, and nitrites. Volatile solvents are household or industrial chemicals that emit vapors that are intoxicating. Aerosols are chemicals that can be found in the household and use propellants to disperse their chemical. Examples of these products are hair spray, deodorant spray, and computer cleaner. Gases can be found in both the household setting or in a medical setting. These inhalants include butane lighters, propane gas canisters, and even whip cream containers. In the medical setting, these inhalants were include chloroform and nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas. Nitrites include cyclohexyl, butyl, and amyl nitrites. These inhalants can be found in video head cleaner, room deodorizers, and leather cleaner.
The effects of inhalants mimic the affects of anesthetics. That is, they slow down bodily functions and cause intoxicating effects similar to alcohol intoxication. These effects last only minutes. However, users will repeatedly breathe in the chemical vapors to extend the sensation of feeling high or intoxicated. This repeated exposure can cause the user to fall unconscious. Breathing in highly concentrated amounts of these chemicals can induce heart failure within minutes of use. The name for this sudden death reaction is “sudden sniffing death”. Sudden sniffing death is common among the youth who abuse inhalants. Sudden sniffing death often occurs after inhaling butane, propane, and chemical aerosols.
Chronic use of inhalants has long term lasting effects. These effects are also irreversible, as their effects are on the brain. These effects include hearing loss, peripheral neuropathies, CNS and brain damage, and bone marrow damage. These chemicals can also damage the liver and kidneys. It is not uncommon for habitual users to end up in vegetative state.
Users of these drugs are urged to seek treatment immediately to avoid long term damaging affects to the brain and body. If one is trying to withdraw from using inhalants, you are suggested to seek profession treatment.