The Drug Most People Don´t Talk About

When you think of drugs and addiction, most people´s first thought goes to pills, cocaine, marijuana, etc. What most people forget about are the drugs they can find all around their home. From cleaning supplies, glue, markers, paint, all the way to gasoline, these are common household items that are used as inhalants. The term inhalants, refers to the various substances that people typically take only by inhaling. They contain dangerous substances that have psychoactive (mind-altering) properties when inhaled. The use of inhalants is extremely common in many third world countries around the globe but is often left unspoken about in many American homes and schools. People don’t typically think of these products as drugs because they’re not intended for getting “high,” but many people (typically teens and young adults) use them for that purpose. While thought of as harmless by many users and even sometimes not taken seriously by adults, the use of inhalants can have life altering consequences. Long term use of serious and sometimes irreversible damage to the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs and brain.

How do people use inhalants?

People who use inhalants breathe them in through the mouth (huffing) or nose in various ways:

  • sniffing or snorting fumes from a container or dispenser (such as a glue bottle or a marking pen)
  • spraying aerosols (such as computer cleaning dusters) directly into the nose or mouth
  • “huffing” from a chemical-soaked rag in the mouth
  • sniffing or inhaling fumes from chemicals sprayed or put inside a plastic or paper bag (bagging)
  • inhaling from balloons filled with nitrious oxide, often called laughing gas

People may also feel light-headed or have hallucinations (images/sensations that seem real but aren’t) or delusions (false beliefs). With repeated inhalations, many people feel less self-conscious relaxed, and less in control. But don´t be mistaken the relaxed sensation you´re feeling can quickly lead to you passing out or worse heart failure.

What are the common effects of inhalants?

  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of coordination
  • Euphoria
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsy
  • Brain damage
  • Memory loss
  • Anemia
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • Irritability
  • Depression

The use of inhalants should not be taken lightly by users or parents/guardians of users. The most devastating short-term effect of inhalant use is sudden death. The high concentration of chemicals can induce irregular heartbeats and lead to fatal heart failure within minutes of inhalation. This is basically known as “sudden sniffing death” and can result from a single session of inhalant by even an otherwise healthy individual. Sniffing can cause asphyxiation, suffocation, convulsions, seizures and choking.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction or substance abuse, call Ridgeview Ranch today to speak with one of our addiction specialists at (877) 526–7706 for a free consultation. For additional information regarding our detox, outpatient and inpatient (30, 60, & 90 day) treatment programs, please visit We accept all major PPO insurances and have financing programs to fit your needs. We are here to help you!

Ridgeview Ranch Treatment Center

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Ridgeview Ranch Treatment Center, established since 2007, is California’s premier alcohol and drug treatment center located in the greater Los Angeles area.

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