Inhalants

Street Names:

"Shoot the breeze," "Satan's secret," "Air Blast," "Bang," "Moon gas," and "Oz"

"The boy's family found him lying dead on the floor of their Spring Hill home. It appeared he had been purposely inhaling the vapors of a carburetor cleaning fluid - one of countless household substances that can provide abusers with a dangerous high."St. Petersburg Times, Florida, January 8, 2002

Chemical Composition:

Inhalants are gases or vapors from volatile solvents and substances found in common household and commercial products which are intentionally breathed.

 

Characteristics:

Inhalants are used to get "high." Inhalants may be adhesives, aerosols, solvents and gases, cleaning agents, food products, gases, anesthetics, and nitrites.

Adhesives - model airplane glue, rubber cement, household glue

Aerosols - spray paint, hairspray, air freshener, deodorant, fabric protector

Solvents and gases - nail polish remover, paint thinner, typing correction fluid and thinner, toxic markers, pure toluene, cigar lighter fluid, gasoline, carburetor cleaner, octane booster

Cleaning agents - dry cleaning fluid, spot remover, degreaser

Food products - vegetable cooking spray, dessert topping spray (whipped cream), whippets

Gases - nitrous oxide, butane, propane, helium

Anesthetics - nitrous oxide, ether, chloroform

Nitrites - nitrite room odorizers

Methods of Use:

Inhalants are breathed in either by sniffing or "huffing" (inhaling through one's mouth). Fumes are inhaled from a paper bag or by soaking a rag in the chemical.

Indications of inhalant use are paint or stains on the body or clothing, spots or sores around the mouth, red or runny eyes and nose, chemical odor on the breath, a drunk dazed or dizzy appearance, loss of appetite, excitability or irritability.

An 18-year-old found dead ...behind his Fort Worth home with a plastic bag over his head may have been inhaling Freon before his death, police officials said." Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, TX, July 11, 2001

Risks:

Inhalant use can result in "Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome," meaning the user can die the 1st, 10th or 100th time they use an inhalant.

Inhalant use can cause damage to the kidneys, liver, lungs, muscle, heart, bone marrow, nerves and skin. Brain damage can result in personality changes, memory impairment, hallucinations, loss of coordination and slurred speech.

With prolonged or heavy use physical withdrawal symptoms can produce sweating, rapid pulse, hand tremors, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, physical agitation, anxiety, hallucinations and grand mal seizures.

"Rock Island police said inhalants were at least partly responsible for the March 18 death of Zachary Abbott, a 14-year-old Milan boy killed when he was hit by two cars as he walked on U.S. 67. The Rock Island County Sheriff's Department received an anonymous tip that Mr. Abbott had been huffing toxic chemicals the day he died. Witness told police his behavior before the accident was strange - that he was talking to himself, didn't remember his activities earlier that day, and was virtually 'marching' on the highway." The Rock Island Argus, Illinois, May 7, 2001

Sources:

"Inhalants"
Drug Facts
Executive Office of the President
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Washington, D.C.
www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov

National Inhalant Prevention Coalition
2904 Kerbey Lane
Austin, TX 78703
www.inhalants.org