Inhalant Addiction

Inhalant Addiction

Inhalants | What is this all about?

Inhalants are breathable chemicals that produce mind-altering vapors providing a psychotropic behavioral-change or effect. Hence, the term for this behavior is known as “Huffing”. People don’t think about inhalants as illicit substances and as a result, most of the products contributing to abuse were not meant to be used in this manner. Close to 3 million children, aged 12 to 17 uses an inhalants inappropriately. Nearly all inhalants provide soothing anesthetic effects that decelerate bodily functions, while the user feels euphoric. Thousands of readily available products are consumable as inhalants. These agents are legal, popular and inexpensive but deadly and addictive. Products found in unusual places around a residence should be recognized and investigated as potential evidence of inhalant addiction.

Inhalant | Abuse & Addiction:

Inhalants are most commonly used by teens and are a gateway to more dangerous drugs. Inhalants may be “huffed” (soaking a rag), “sniffed” or “dusted (directly from the container), or used by “bagging” (vapors inhaled from a bag). “Dusting” is the use of Dust-Off spray or Air-Duster used to clean computer parts. Inhaling these products can produce chemical burns or cold-temperature burns on the tongue, lips, face, and fingertips. The chemicals inside these products evaporate quickly at room temperature causing them cool quickly. In fact, frost may be seen on the end of the delivery straw.

Indicators of Inhalant use:

  • ~ Odor of Inhalant
  • ~ Residue of us on nose, mouth, hands
  • ~ Slurred speech
  • ~ Dazed appearance
  • ~ Lack of muscle control
  • ~ Complaints of headaches
  • ~ Liver & lung damage

Street Names / Slang Terms for Inhaling & Inhalants: 

Huffing, Huff, Dusting, Whippits, Amy, Aimies, Boppers, Hippie Crack, Bagging, Laughing Gas, Poppers, Rush Snappers, Texas Shoe Shine, Gluey, Zombie Juice, Gas-Up

Nitrous Oxide Inhalant Addiction
Anesthetic Agents:

  • Nitrous Oxide (“Whippits”)
  • Difluoroethane, Tetrafluoroethane and Tetrafluoropropene (“Canned Air”)
  • Chloroform
  • Ether
  • Helium
  • Freon
  • Modeling glue
  • Super glue / markers
  • Oil and grease dissolvers
  • Amyl
  • Butyl

Volatile solvents:

  • Gasoline
  • Toluene
  • Paint thinners
  • Glue
  • Cleaning solutions


  • Spray paints

Isobutyl Nitrites:

  • Room fresheners

Effects may Include:

  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bad breath
  • Double vision
  • Runny or bloody nose
  • Lack of coordination
  • Feeling and looking tired
  • Eye irritation
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Ringing in ears
  • Erratic heart beat

Long-term Effects:

  • Hand tremors
  • Less concern about appearance
  • Sores/rash around mouth and nose
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Electrolyte
  • Imbalance
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Permanent damage to nervous system
  • Brain
  • Liver
  • Kidney
  • Blood and bone marrow damage
  • Impaired respiratory system
  • Impaired coordination and intelligence
  • Death by asphyxiation/suffocation

Psychological effects occur rapidly because the substance travels directly to the brain after passing through the lungs and the left side of the heart.

Psychological Effects of Inhalant Addiction:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Excitability
  • Poor memory
  • Confusion
  • Moody
  • Restless activity
  • Lack of concentration
  • Aggressive behavior

People young and old alike who want to escape from their current environment or mental state are drawn to this “Gateway” drug. Since most of these inexpensive substances are found on shelves at common hardware stores, and therefore, not seen as bad for one’s health, can be dangerously appealing and highly addictive. Although, these products are commonly found, fortunately the recovery methods are also common.

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