Drugs of Abuse: Inhalants

Get the Facts About Inhalants

Slang. Glue, Kick, Bang, Sniff, Huff, Poppers, Whippets, Texas Shoeshine

Inhalants affect your brain. Inhalants are substances or fumes from products such as glue or paint thinner that are sniffed or "huffed" to cause an immediate high. Because they affect your brain with much greater speed and force than many other substances, they can cause irreversible physical and mental damage before you know what's happened.

Inhalants affect your heart. Inhalants starve the body of oxygen and force the heart to beat irregularly and more rapidly‐which can be dangerous for your body.

Inhalants damage other parts of your body. People who use inhalants can experience nausea and nosebleeds; develop liver, lung, and kidney problems; and lose their sense of hearing or smell. Chronic use can lead to muscle wasting and reduced muscle tone and strength.

Inhalants can cause sudden death. Inhalants can kill you instantly. Inhalant users can die by suffocation, choking on their vomit, or having a heart attack.

Get the facts. Inhalants can kill you the very first time you use them.

Stay informed. Inhalants include a large group of chemicals that are found in such household products as aerosol sprays, cleaning fluids, glue, paint, paint thinner, gasoline, propane, nail polish remover, correction fluid, and marker pens. None of these are safe to inhale‐they all can kill you.

Be aware. Chemicals like amyl nitrite and isobutyl nitrite ("poppers") and nitrous oxide ("whippets") are often sold at concerts and dance clubs. They can permanently damage your body and brain.

Know the risks. Chronic inhalant abusers may permanently lose the ability to perform everyday functions like walking, talking, and thinking.

Know the Signs…

  • Slurred speech
  • Drunk, dizzy, or dazed appearance
  • Unusual breath odor
  • Chemical smell on clothing
  • Paint stains on body or face
  • Red eyes
  • Runny nose

Information provided by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

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