Inhalant abuse, (also called solvent abuse, huffing, sniffing, glue
sniffing, or volatile substance abuse), is the practice of purposely
breathing poisonous vapors into the lungs. Most inhalants are common
household products. Some common inhalants are: hair spray, gasoline,
spray paint, glue, typewriter correction fluid, paints, polishes,
pressurized aerosol sprays, and room deodorizers. Inhalants can be
abused in a number of ways such as sniffing or inhaling them
directly from their containers; breathing them in after they are
sprayed into a bag or empty soft drink can; or spraying or pouring
them directly on a cloth and inhaling them from the fabric. Children
often abuse inhalants because they can create a stimulating and
short "high", are inexpensive, easy to obtain, and not illegal to
possess. Risk increases with prolonged use and more toxic inhalants.
Some effects of inhalants:
• Loss of consciousness
• Brain damage - Mild to severe
• Cardiac arrest - Heartbeat stopping
• Choking, suffocation, and difficulty breathing or failure to
• Physical injuries while under the influence
• Suicidal tendencies
Symptoms may include:
• Breath and clothing that smells like chemicals
• Spots or sores around the mouth
• Paint or stains on body or clothing
• Nausea and loss of appetite
• Drunk, dazed, or glassy-eyed look
• Anxiety, excitability, and irritability
WHAT YOUR DOCTOR CAN DO:
• Diagnose the problem by asking about the symptoms, doing a
physical exam, and ordering laboratory blood tests
• Refer your child to a substance abuse treatment program. Treatment
is necessary for recovery from abuse.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
• It is very important to recognize if your child is abusing
inhalants and get help immediately.
• DO NOT think you must or can handle this alone. Your child's life
is in danger. Talk to someone you trust.
• As with other forms of substance abuse, the entire family is
impacted. Consider counseling for yourself and other family members
to help you understand and cope.
• Refer your child to a substance abuse program for further help.
• Be aware of the symptoms listed above.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT:
• Many long-time abusers will feel the effects of withdrawal for
weeks after abuse has stopped.
• Recovery is difficult but not impossible.
CALL 1061 OR SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL
ASSISTANCE If you suspect your child is abusing