Inhalants - Jean Basile

Abuse of inhalants has been documented since
the 1800’s. Doctors and dentists who used ether
and chloroform as anesthetics in their practices
commonly abused these gases.
The 1st mention of children abusing inhalants was
in the early 1950’s- 2 boys sniffing gasoline fumes to
achieve intoxication.
Inhalants are usually liquids from which
fumes or gases can be inhaled.
 Examples include: correction fluid, glue,
hair sprays, felt-tip markers, and varnish.
Gaseous Anesthetics- have been used in medicine
and surgery for many years. Ex: Nitrous oxide: one
of the safest anesthetics when used properly.
However, can cause suffocation when not used
properly. Also found as a propellant in whipped
Nitrates-Amyl nitrate and butyl nitrate. Sold under
names such as ‘locker room’ and ‘aroma of men.’
Can cause rapid dilation of the arteries and
reduce blood pressure to the brain; resulting in a
period of faintness or unconsciousness.
Nitrates are often used by homosexual males to
enhance the sense of lightheadedness at orgasm.
Volatile Solvents- glues, cooking sprays, and
correction fluid.
Generally used by cupping substance in hand or
on handkerchief and inhaling.
Can cause suffocation, kidney damage, brain
damage, and peripheral nerve damage.
After huffing, user may appear disheveled.
 May experience a rash around mouth or nose;
including dry, cracked skin.
 Eyes may appear irritated with pupils dilated.
 Chronic users generally experience weight loss and
appetite loss.
 Can experience visual hallucinations and
delusional behavior.
 As the euphoric state wears off, users generally
experience nausea, headaches, and mood
Chronic use may lead to brain damage
and result in dementia.
 Complications of use can include:
 Cardiac arrythmias
 Hepatitis and liver damage
 Kidney damage
 Visual Impairments
 Bone marrow damage or leukemia
Partial or permanent loss of muscle control
Personality changes
Memory impairment
Loss of coordination
Slurred speech
SSD-sudden sniffing death-a component of
aerosol products causes a decrease in
available oxygen in the body. If user becomes
startled or engages in sudden physical activity,
cardiac arrest may occur. When this occurs,
death can happen within minutes.
Most commonly Caucasian males between 12
and 14 y/o & typically of lower socio-economic
Highest rates occur among adolescents in the
8th grade, with 20% having tried Inhalants at
least once.
According to the American Academy of
Pediatricians, inhalant abuse has occurred in
children as young as six.
Generally classified as a gateway drug.