Inhalants are substances that are abused by inhaling the vapors or fumes, and these substances include a wide variety of common household solvents, cleaners, and aerosol products. This form of substance abuse is extremely harmful and can lead to serious medical problems or even death. Inhalants include spray paint, fresh markers, cleaning solutions, glues and liquid cements, and other products. The volatile substances in these items have psychoactive properties, and they are most commonly abused by adolescents and younger adults. The fumes or vapors are inhaled through the nose, the mouth, or both. Sometimes the individual will saturate a cloth with the inhalant product and then place this cloth over their nose and mouth and then inhale deeply.
Many inhalants prevent enough oxygen from getting to the brain tissues, and this can cause a loss of consciousness or even damage to brain cells which are permanent. Inhalants are addictive, and in some cases this substance abuse can lead to addiction over a period of time. Since the high or buzz achieved only lasts a few minutes in most cases the individual may repeatedly use inhalants throughout the day. Since each of the products that are abused contain different formulations of substances the side effects of using inhalants can vary widely. When under the influence of these drugs the user may seem like they are drunk. Slurred speech, confusion, and dizziness are all common right after this type of substance abuse. If you or someone you know has a problem with any type of substance abuse there are programs that can help you through the recovery process.