Drugs Information, what you really should know about, drugs facts on and facts about Solents and Inhalents

A Guide for worried parents, teenagers who are using drugs or thinking about using drugs and anyone who wants to know more about the subject.

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Solvents / Inhalentssolvents - logo

Inhalants refer to legal substances that are sniffed or huffed to give the user an immediate head rush or high. Inhalent use can cause a number of physical and emotional problems, and even one-time use can result in death. Inhalants fall into three categories: volatile solvents such as glue, gasoline, aerosols; anesthetics such as nitrous oxide andnitrites such as amyl and butyl nitrite.
They consist mainly of aerosols, lighter fuel, glues, cleaning fluids, (gas) chemical solvents, paints stripper, petrol, marker pen, deodorant, typewriter correction fluid and dry cleaning fluids.
Solvent misuse is most common among youngsters aged from 12 to 16 although younger children may experiment too.

Common Street Names:
Glue, whipped cream, poppers, rush.

How they are taken:
Vapours are inhaled to produce a similar effect to alcohol. Some people increase the effect by inhaling from a plastic bag breathing through the nose and mouth; Aerosols are usually put between the teeth with the top off ejecting the spray down the throat.
It causes drunken behaviour and hallucinations, stomach cramps, rashes around the nose and mouth and inflamed eyes, light headedness, dizziness and some people feel sick and drowsy.


The risks:
Loss of control or unconsciousness, sometimes leading to serious accidents, kidney damage, liver damage, heart failure. Can sometimes cause death by choking on vomit or suffocation by freezing air passages. Death by toxic attack on the heart. Young people die every week from solvent abuse in the u.k. Over a third of deaths are first time users. Death can occur very rapidly from heart failure as a result of sniffing any of these products.

Long term heavy use, particularly of glue, can damage the brain, liver and kidneys. Regular use can also be habit forming and this can be difficult to break.

There is an increased chance of accidents happening when sniffers are high on solvents especially in a dangerous location like a train line, riverbanks, high buildings or main roads.

Solvent use is not illegal, but it is illegal for a shop keeper to sell solvents to anyone under 18 if they know they are intended for abuse.

Inhalants act on the brain and destroy the outer lining of nerve cells, making it impossible for those cells to communicate. Symptoms of use include dilated pupils, blisters or rash around the nose or mouth, chronic cough, nausea and headaches, disorientation, chemical odor on breath. After only six months of use, the brain, lungs, nerves, liver, kidneys and bones may be permanently damaged.

Using inhalents even one time can put you at risk for:
sudden death suffocation visual hallucinations and severe mood swings numbness and tingling of the hands and feet
Prolonged use can result in:
headache, muscle weakness, abdominal pain decrease or loss of sense of smell nausea and nose bleeds hepatitis
violent behaviors irregular heartbeat liver, lung, and kidney impairmant involuntary passing of urine and feces
irreversible brain damage nervous system damage dangerous chemical imbalances in the body
Short-term effects:
heart palpitations breathing difficulty dizziness headaches

For information about other drugs, return to Drug Information Page.