Inhalants are chemicals found in ordinary household or workplace products. That makes them accessible and increases the risk of abuse with them. They are often called the “drug of poor people”. In most cases users are people with lower social status and with behavioral and emotional problems in the environment.
There are different types of inhalants, provoking different effects. They can be separated in four basic categories: volatile solvents, aerosols, gases and nitrites.
• Volatile solvents are liquids that become a gas at room temperature. They can be found in paint thinners and removers, gasoline, glues, and felt-tip marker fluids.
• Aerosols are sprays that contain fuels and dissolvents. These are spray paint, hairsprays, deodorants, vegetable oil cooking sprays, and static cleaning spray.
• Gases include household and commercial products (butane lighters, propane tanks, whipped cream dispensers that contain nitrous oxide, and refrigerants) and some medical gases use as pain killers (ether, nitrous oxide).
• Nitrites are a class of inhalants used mainly to enhance sexual experiences. Organic nitrites include amyl, butyl, and cyclohexyl nitrites and other related compounds. Amyl nitrite was used in the past by doctors to help with chest pain and in our days is used to diagnose heart problems. Nitrites can still be found, sold in small bottles labeled as “video head cleaner,” “room odorize,” “leather cleaner” or “liquid aroma.” They do not act directly on the central nervous system as most of the other inhalants. Usually they expand the blood vessels and relax muscles.
Short-term effects of inhalants are similar to those of alcohol use. Users feel dizziness, euphoria, joy, lack of control. The effects last only a few minutes and because of that, users often repeat inhalations, which can lead to other risks.
Regular use of inhalants can lead to dependence and it is related to a variety risks as damage to the brain, other vital organs and even death.
Wide spreading of inhalants and almost seamless access to most of them turn in inhalants into serious problem. They are called inhalants because of the way of use – “inhale”. Users often do not realize that even one inhalation may be dangerous and risky for the brain and lungs and can lead to death. Usually the main purpose of inhalation is to achieve a state of intoxication and stone. Chemicals in these products may have influence on the brain functioning and lead to damages of vital organs.
Inhalants are also known as: laughing gas, snappers, poppers, whippets, bold and rush.