Inhalants are chemicals found in everyday use household items such as aerosol sprays, propane tanks, refrigerant gases, liquid cleaners, etc. Many people unconsciously form a habit of getting a ‘high’ from these items without even realizing at first. The ‘high’ from inhalants lasts only a few minutes, so individuals addicted to them usually inhale repeatedly over several hours to keep getting the buzz. The recreational use of inhalers has become a major problem in recent times due to their easy availability.

Inhalant Abuse

As soon as a person inhales these chemicals, the lungs help them enter the blood stream instantly, which affects the nervous system and gives the person a sudden feeling of euphoria or joyfulness. This is followed by feelings of dizziness, lightheadedness, and in some cases, loss of sensation or unconsciousness. Long-term effects of inhalants may include damage to nerve fibers, damage to brain cells, liver failure, muscle weakness, aplastic anemia, coma and even sudden death in the case of prolonged or excessive use. Inhalant abuse usually occurs because of the easy accessibility of common household items.


Four Categories of Inhalants

  • Volatile solvents such as paint thinner, nail polish remover, or felt-tip marker fluid. To use these as recreational drugs, a person may sniff or snort directly from the container.
  • Aerosols sprays such as hair spray, deodorants, or fabric protector sprays. Addicts may directly inhale sprays into their nose or mouth to get a ‘high’.
  • Gases found in butane lighters or in anesthetic medicine, such as chloroform or nitrous oxide. Inhaling directly from a lighter or using a nitrous oxide balloon is how a person can abuse these gases.
  • Nitrites found in liquid aromas, leather cleaners, or room deodorizers.
Inhalant Abuse

Other Names for Inhalants

There are some alternate names used for inhalants on the street or online:

  • Poppers: A slang used for inhalants that contain alkyl nitrites.
  • Snappers: This is a slang term used for small bottles of nitrites, which can be inhaled or ‘huffed’ directly from the container.
  • Whippets: This is a slang term for inhalants used by young individuals. These type of inhalants usually contain nitrous oxide.
  • Laughing Gas: Nitrous oxide is known popularly as Laughing Gas, an addictive gas used for recreational purposes.

If you or anyone close to you needs help dealing with inhalant abuse, get immediate medical help and contact IntoTreatment for support through the rehabilitation journey.

Other Names for Inhalants
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