Inhalants

  • Include such substances as nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”), amyl nitrate, butyl nitrate (found in asthma inhalants), chlorohydrocarbons (used in aerosol sprays), and hydrocarbons (found in gasoline, glue, and paint thinner).
  • Immediate negative effects of inhalants include nausea, sneezing, coughing, nosebleeds, fatigue, lack of coordination, and loss of appetite. Solvents and aerosol sprays decrease heart and respiratory rates and impair judgment. Amyl and butyl nitrite (asthma inhalant) cause rapid pulse and feces. Long-term use may result in hepatitis or brain hemorrhage.
  • Deeply inhaling the vapors or using large amounts over a short period of time may result in disorientation, violent behavior, unconsciousness, or death. High concentration of inhalants can cause suffocation by displacing oxygen in the lungs or by depressing the central nervous system to the point that breathing stops. Long-term use can cause weight loss, fatigue, electrolyte imbalance, and muscle fatigue. Repeated sniffing of concentrated vapors over time can permanently damage the nervous system.