What is it?
Inhalants usually encompass volatile substances, many found around the
home or office, that give off fumes or vapours at room temperature. Others
are industrial. The four main categories of inhalants are
- Volatile solvents – glue, petrol
- Aerosols – cigarette lighters, hair sprays, air freshener
- Anaesthetics – nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
- Volatile nitrates – amyl nitrate and butyl nitrate
What does it look like?
Volatile solvents – Will usually come in plastic containers such
as those for glues
Aerosols – Come in metal cylinder containers
- Anaesthetics – Small metal cylinders (shorter then aerosols),
the same used for soda syphons
- Volatile nitrates
Nangs, bulbs, glue, gas, sniff, huff, chroming, poppers
How They Are Taken
- Inhalants are inhaled either through the nose or mouth.
- Before inhaling, inhalants are either sprayed into a plastic bag,
poured into a bottle, or soaked onto a cloth
How They Work
Being depressants, inhalants affect the nervous system by slowing down
messages to and from the brain
Why Is It Taken? (Desired Side Effects)
- Volatile Solvents and Aerosols – the intoxication is similar
to that from alcohol except it is achieved faster (between 1 and 5 minutes)
and recovery is faster also (usually no longer then 60 minutes).
- Nitrous oxide – Effects are a rapid head rush and euphoria,
but they last only for a short moment
- Volatile nitrates – Blood rushes to the brain, flooding it
with oxygen. This brings on a sense of exhilaration and sensuality.
Smooth muscles like those in the anus are relaxed, especially the anal
sphincter, making it popular for those taking part in anal sex.
Other desired side effects
- Reduced inhibitions
Unwanted Side Effects
- Slurred Speech
- Tightening of the chest
- Blood nose
- Rapid heartbeat
- Confusion and Disorientation
- Double vision
- Eye and throat irritation
- Bloodshot eyes
- Sores around the mouth and nose
Long Term Side Effects
- Paleness in appearance
- Weight loss
- Memory loss
- Liver and Kidney damage
- Degenerative brain disease (leaded petrol)
- Irregular heartbeat, damage to heart muscle
- Loss of hearing and smell
- Long term users may feel irritable, hostile depressed and victimized
Misuse of large commercial dental cylinders has resulted in oxygen deprivation,
leading to death.
Overdose And Death
It is possible depending on the substance used and the method of use.
Very high doses can result in blackouts, convulsions and coma. Only a
small number of deaths have been reported as a result of chroming.
Addiction And Dependency
Users of inhalants do build a tolerance to the substances and as a result
more and more is required to achieve the same desired effect.
Users can form both a physical and psychological dependency on some inhalants
such as glue and petrol.