Kinds of Inhalants
Most of our homes are already loaded with potential inhalants for kids to abuse. If every one was gathered into a single pile in your living room, that pile could be subdivided in to the four categories of inhalants: solvents, gases, aerosols, and nitrates.
These are liquids that give off fumes at room temperature. Imagine the wavy fumes you see rising out of a freshly opened gas can. Normally, we would step away from these fumes. But by purposely inhaling them, we could produce a mildly euphoric state. The feeling is described as being similar to that experienced by a choking or drowning victim, right before they pass out. Other common solvents are glues, rubber cements, automobile octane boosters, degreasers, ink correction fluids, the ink in marker pens, paint thinners, and paint removers.
Unfortunately, many different types of school supplies also serve as popular inhalants. And thanks to the world wide web, the availability of these products as intoxicants is widely advertised to kids. There are readily available instructions for use. Many sites even offer advice on how to hide the abuse of inhalants from parents. Just try a Google search for “How to huff”.
Common gasses that are huffed include helium, nitrous oxide, and ether.
The photo at right shows nitrous oxide “whippets”, sold as a drink carbonation kit. Nitrous oxide can also be obtained by spraying a whipped cream can straight up, releasing the gas inside.
Items like propane, butane, refrigerant re-charge cans, and spray paints are also common. Many users particularly like gold or silver spray paint, for the slightly higher chemical content present.
Like solvents and nitrates, many gases leave behind conspicuous pungent fumes. These fumes can be detected long after the user has inhaled the substance. While the huffing itself may take place in private, alert parents may pick up on the lingering odors.
Household shelves contain many examples of the aerosol category. Every aluminum can that is capable of forcefully expelling a fragrant or liquid substance is a potential source for an individual seeking intoxication. Spray deodorants, computer keyboard cleaner, hairsprays, cooking sprays, and even pressurized laundry sprays are additional examples of potential aerosol inhalants.
Left: Dust-Off is the best-known keyboard cleaner aerosol. It is also one of the best known and most widely used inhalants. It is produced by Falcon Safety Products. Falcon has gone to considerable lengths to provide conspicuous warnings concerning the consequences of product abuse on each container of Dust-Off. Of course this is of little deterrent to a person who is intent on getting high. Internet rumors report that “Dust Off” is just pressurized air. It is not. The product contains difluoroethane and tetrafluoroethane – both harmful to users if purposely inhaled.
Some of these are manufactured expressly for the purpose of being used to get high. They are commonly referred to as “poppers”. Nitrite based inhalants contain a substance called amyl nitrite and are sold in small crushable glass or hard plastic vials known as “snappers”. Other sources of nitrate inhalants include certain room deodorizers, video head cleaners, liquid cleaners and bottled fragrances. High on the ingredient list of these products is butyl nitrite, a known intoxicant.
To learn more about inhalant abuse visit one of these links directly:
What Are Inhalants | Kinds of Inhalants | Common Household Inhalants | How Inhalants Are Used | Effects of Inhalants | How Inhalants Kill | Street Names of Inhalants | Detecting Inhalant Use | Preventing Inhalant Use | Inhalant Facts | Huffing | Overview of Inhalants