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Inhalants

 

What are they? Inhalants are industrial chemicals contained in hundreds of everyday household products. They have been called the cocaine of the '90's. We use them to clean our car engines, fuel our cigarette lighters, freshen our air, paint our walls, remove nail polish, etc. When users buy these products to purposely inhale the fumes and get high, we call it "sniffing," "snorting," "bagging" (fumes inhaled from a plastic bag), or "huffing" (user soaks rag with inhalant and puts the rag in his/her mouth). One popular inhalant is called chemo.

How does it make you feel? When inhaled or huffed, inhalants provide a quick, cheap and accessible way to get high. Some say it makes you feel dizzy and a little hyper, or just totally "messed up."

What does it do to your body? Inhalants are very dangerous because they are industrial chemicals and are not meant to be put into the body. The primary long term effects are on the brain. In other words, if you sniff long enough, you will cause brain injury or damage.

Why? Like alcohol, inhalants give users a temporary high and feeling of freedom. After the high fades (it may last a few minutes or an hour), the user's brain starts shutting down and he/she may experience:

  • dizziness
  • slurred speech
  • difficulty walking
  • sleepiness
  • memory loss

Like uppers, inhalants might make the user feel:

  • very confused (not knowing what's going on mentally or emotionally)
  • cranky (everything and everyone annoys them)
  • impulsive (doing things and not caring about the consequences)
  • decreased appetite

Other problems with inhalants: Many contain lead and other poisons. This causes injuries to:

  • The brain (which ought to be your favorite organ)
  • The lungs (necessary for breathing)
  • The liver (neutralizes poisons in the body)
  • The kidneys (purifies the blood)

Huffing can cause death, usually by starving the lungs of oxygen.

How easy is it to become dependent? Inhalants do not cause a physical dependence, but they can cause a psychological or emotional dependence. One may feel compelled to chase after the high by huffing again and again.

What is an overdose? By starving the body of oxygen or forcing the heart to beat more rapidly and erratically, inhalants can lead to a coma or brain damage and death.

What is withdrawal like? There is no physical withdrawal when one stops using inhalants, just a craving for the drug that may take several days or weeks to go away.

Are they legal? Yes, because inhalants are not considered "drugs". They are everyday products with obvious household uses.

    Want to learn more about inhalants?

Chemo - makes cars run better... not great for people!

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