"We need to talk to young people about drugs and make sure they understand that drugs are dangerous, addictive substances."

John P. Walters


Although inhalants seem harmless, their effects when used to get 'high' prove otherwise. Inhalants are chemical vapors that people inhale on purpose to get 'high'. There are 4 ways to categorize inhalants; Volatile Solvents (liquids that vaporize at room temperature) i.e. paint thinner, nail polish remover, degreaser, gasoline, and felt-tip marker fluid; Aerosols (sprays that contain propellants and solvents) i.e. spray paint, hair spray, deodorant spray, and vegetable oil sprays; Nitrites (used primarily as sexual enhancers); and gases i.e. butane lighters, propane tanks, whipped cream dispensers, and refrigerant gases.

When using Inhalants the lungs absorb inhaled chemicals into the bloodstream very quickly, leaving, within minutes, the user feeling 'high'. Inhalants also damage brain cells by preventing them from receiving enough oxygen. The effects of the brain not receiving enough oxygen depend on the area of the brain affected. The hippocampus, for example, is responsible for memory, so someone who repeatedly abuses inhalants may lose the ability to learn new things or may have a hard time carrying on simple conversations. If the cerebral cortex is affected, the ability to solve complex problems and plan ahead will be compromised. And, if the cerebellum is affected, it can cause a person to move slowly or clumsily.

Short term effects:

  • At first someone gets excited, but then gets tired, has trouble speaking clearly or walking well, gets dizzy, loses inhibitions, and may get agitated.
  • Slurred speech, lack of coordination, drowsiness, dizziness, increased heart rate, hallucinations or delusions, nausea and vomiting, and some users have experienced lingering headaches

Long term effects:

  • Long-term inhalant use can break down myelin, meaning nerve cells are not able to transmit messages as efficiently, which can cause muscle spasms and tremors or even permanent difficulty with basic actions like walking, bending, and talking. Inhalants can also cause heart damage, liver failure, and muscle weakness.