What are inhalants?
Inhalants are chemicals – not drugs.
“Inhalants are volatile substances that produce chemical vapours that a person inhales to induce a psychoactive, or mind-altering, effect.”
The chemical vapours are toxic to your body and brain. Inhalants are rapidly absorbed by your lungs when you inhale. It enters the bloodstream and is transported to your brain. The user feels “high” within minutes, like when drinking alcohol. However, the effect of the vapour is short, and users repeatedly sniff to maintain the feeling of being high.
Warning: Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome
Inhalants can kill you instantly the 1st time you sniff by stopping your heartbeat.
- Inhalants are not only abused by street children – they s a dangerous practice among teens of all ages.
- 90% of parents are unaware their children are sniffing on products in their own homes. Products are readily available and cheap.
- According to a recent study in the USA, about 1.1 million 12 – 17-year-olds admitted to using inhalants last year.
- In the USA, about 600 000 teens start using inhalants every year.
- A study revealed that teens did not believe sniffing inhalants were as dangerous as taking illegal drugs.
- 22% of inhalant abusers who died of Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome had no history of previous inhalant abuse—they were first-time users.
- In Nairobi, Kenya, an estimated 60,000 children live on the streets, and almost all are addicted to some inhalant.
- Inhaling chemicals is also called “huffing”.
Why do children / young people use inhalants?
- To fit in
- To escape or relax
- To relieve boredom
- To seem grown-up
- To rebel
- To experiment
- To forget a bad life momentarily
What are the different types of inhalants?
paint thinner, nail polish remover, degreaser, dry-cleaning fluid, gasoline, and contact cement correction fluid, felt-tip marker fluid, and electronic contact cleaner
Butane lighters, propane tanks, whipped cream dispensers, and refrigerant gases
Anaesthesia, including ether, chloroform, halothane, and nitrous oxide
Spray paint, hair spray, deodorant spray, vegetable oil sprays, and fabric protector spray
Organic nitrites include amyl, butyl, and cyclohexyl nitrites and other related compounds. When marketed for illicit use, it is often sold as “video head cleaner,” “room odorizer,” “leather cleaner,” or “liquid aroma”.
What are the side effects of inhalants?
The worst, most deadly side-effect :
Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome
Many types of inhalants can kill you instantly when you use them – no matter if it is the first or umptieth time you use them. It is known as Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome. The user dies of cardiac arrest because of an increased and erratic heart rate. The syndrome is mainly associated with the abuse of air conditioning coolant, butane, propane, electronics and the chemicals in some aerosol products.
Other side-effects are:
- shortness of breath
- bad headaches
- runny nose
- slurred speech
- double vision
- lack of concentration
- lung & kidney disease
- permanent brain damage
Note: “Poppers” and “whippets,” sold at concerts and dance clubs, are composed of poisonous chemicals that might permanently damage the body and brain.