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Inhalants, also known as solvents, are chemical vapors that are inhaled for their mood-altering effect. Because they were never intended to be used for an intoxicating effect, inhalants are common in most homes and many workplaces. Some of the products used for huffing (sniffing) are gasoline, cooking spray, deodorant spray, lighter fluid, antifreeze, typewriter correction fluid, and nail polish remover. Inhalants can damage the users' central nervous system, eyes, liver and kidneys, hearing, cause permanent brain damage and personality changes. Sniffing highly concentrated amounts of the chemicals can result in heart failure and death within minutes of repeated inhalations.
Some of the effects of abusing less concentrated inhalants include clumsiness, difficulty speaking, nausea, chest and stomach pains, aggression, and hallucinations.
Sometimes, solvent users pour the solvents onto a cloth and hold it over their faces. Others squeeze glue and other thicker fluids into a bag and breathe in the fumes.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|