Inhalant Dangers


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Inhalant Dangers Health Poster Due 3/21/2006 with Michael Plasmeier, Cortney, and Gwen.

We must put on a 3 minute presentation to concerned PTA parantes about Inhalants. We must also produce a poster with all of the information.


Poster (Gwen)

Gwen, this is your section.

  • See pictures below
  • Some info I put on this site, I copied straight from the source (aka just notes)

What the drug is (Cortney)

Substances with fumes that are sniffed or inhaled in order to give a hallucinogenic "high"


Inhalants are divided into four categories:

Volatile solvents

  • Industrial or household solvents or solvent-containing products, including paint thinners or removers, degreasers, dry-cleaning fluids, gasoline, and glue
  • Art or office supply solvents, including correction fluids, felt-tip-marker fluid, and electronic contact cleaners
  • nail polish remover, lighter fluids, cleaning products,


  • Household aerosol propellants and associated solvents in items such as spray paints, hair or deodorant sprays, fabric protector sprays, and aerosol computer cleaning products or anything that comes from an aerosol can.


  • Gases used in household or commercial products, including butane lighters and propane tanks, whipped cream aerosols or dispensers (whippets), and refrigerant gases
  • Medical anesthetic gases, such as ether, chloroform, halothane, and nitrous oxide ("laughing gas")
  • Helium, freon


  • Include the chemicals cyclohexyl nitrite, amyl nitrite and butyl nitrite. Amyl nitrite is a prescription drug to treat angina. The nitrites are sealed in capsules and are "popped" to release the vapors and are referred to as "poppers" in street lingo.
  • Organic nitrites are volatiles that include cyclohexyl, butyl, and amyl nitrites, and are commonly known as "poppers." Amyl nitrite is still used for medical purposes. Volatile nitrites are often sold in small brown bottles and labeled as "video head cleaner," "room odorizer," "leather cleaner," or "liquid aroma."

How Inhalants are used (Cortney and Justin)

They are used in many different ways depending on their type. For keyboard cleaner, they put the straw that is supposed to blow air from between the keyboard keys into their mouth and inhale. Items with strong fumes are easy to sniff from containers, like markers or glue. Soaking a rag and stuffing it into one's mouth is known as huffing. Some inhalant abusers will spray an aerosol can contents directly into their mouth or nose, or they'll do what is called "bagging," spraying a substance into a plastic or paper bag and inhaling. Another popular way to inhale is to fill a balloon and inhale, similar to the popular sucking helium.

  • sniffing (inhaled by the nose)
  • huffing(inhaled by the mouth)
  • when in a large plastic bag, people can suffocate
  • 8 people can be injured when a chemical they are heating explodes

Signs and Symptopms (Plaz)

  • Chemical odors on breath or clothes
  • Paint stains, particularly on the face
  • Soaked rags
  • Hidden empty cans
  • Appearing drunk, (loss of coordernation) especially without alcohol on the breath
  • Slurred speech or a unusually deep voice
  • Frequent or unusual nose bleeds
  • Nausea
  • Lack of coordination
  • Inattentiveness
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • many pass out or faint
  • Depression

How it affects the body (Plaz)

  • cuts off oxygen to your brain

Although they differ in makeup, nearly all abused inhalants produce short-term effects similar to anesthetics, which act to slow down the body's functions. When inhaled in sufficient concentrations, inhalants can cause intoxication, usually lasting only a few minutes.

However, sometimes users extend this effect for several hours by breathing in inhalants repeatedly. Initially, users may feel slightly stimulated. Repeated inhalations make them feel less inhibited and less in control. If use continues, users can lose consciousness.

Sniffing highly concentrated amounts of the chemicals in solvents or aerosol sprays can directly induce heart failure and death within minutes of a session of repeated inhalations. This syndrome, known as "sudden sniffing death syndrome," can result from a single session of inhalant use by an otherwise healthy young person. Sudden sniffing death is particularly associated with the abuse of butane, propane, and chemicals in aerosols.

High concentrations of inhalants also can cause death from suffocation by displacing oxygen in the lungs and then in the central nervous system so that breathing ceases. Deliberately inhaling from a paper or plastic bag or in a closed area greatly increases the chances of suffocation. Even when using aerosols or volatile products for their legitimate purposes (i.e., painting, cleaning), it is wise to do so in a well-ventilated room or outdoors.

Chronic abuse of solvents can cause severe, long-term damage to the brain, the liver, and the kidneys.

Harmful irreversible effects that may be caused by abuse of specific solvents include:

  • Hearing loss—toluene (spray paints, glues, dewaxers) and trichloroethylene (dry cleaning chemicals, correction fluids)
  • Peripheral neuropathies, or limb spasms—hexane (glues, gasoline) and nitrous oxide (whipped cream dispensers, gas cylinders)
  • Central nervous system or brain damage—toluene (spray paints, glues, dewaxers)
  • Bone marrow damage—benzene (gasoline)

Serious but potentially reversible effects include:

  • Liver and kidney damage—toluene-containing substances and chlorinated hydrocarbons (correction fluids, dry cleaning fluids)
  • Blood oxygen depletion—aliphatic nitrites (known on the street as poppers, bold, and rush) and methylene chloride (varnish removers, paint thinners)

Dangers of Inhalants (Plaz)

  • People don't think it dangerous because it is found around the house.
  • Also the substances are legal
  • No tolerance built up to it
  • Inhalant use can kill the first time – or any time – because the lack of oxygen can cause cardiopulmonary arrest. Regular or chronic use of inhalants can damage the brain, liver, kidneys, heart and lungs. Freon can cause internal frostbite. Users can suffocate (from putting plastic bags over the head, for example) or choke to death.
  • cheap and easy high

Any Additional Information (Gwen and Plaz)


  • Has a long history
  • goes back to the ancient Greeks
  • priests at Delphi would inhale carbon dioxide produced by burning laurel leaves
  • Perfumes and ointments were used widly in anceint Egypt and biblical Palistine
    • They burned inscense made of aromatic spices and woods (contained psychoactive drugs)
  • in africa, smoke was inhaled from buring marijuana leaves
  • native Americans inhaled hallucinogenic substances in their religious observances
  • none of these people knew that this was wrong
  • many instances of drug abuse stem from the ligitimate treatment of a mediacal problem
  • In the 18th and 19th centuary nitrous oxide, ether, and cloroform were the commany abused drugs in north america and europe

How many/who uses it

  • cheap and convenient to get
  • legal
  • used in poor countries (cheap)
  • usage states early
  • popular among middle school children
  • their first drug useage, leads them then to other drugs
  • usage peaks around 8th grade
  • usage still rising
  • female usage has been rising to be closer to males
  • 13 year olds that use inhalants are much more likely to use other illegal drugs latter
  • peer pressure is involved in making kids start

Profile of a Sniffer

  • most are unhappy
  • want to escape
  • shows hostile behavior

How to prevent its use

"First, parents must make it very clear to their children both with words and their own behavior that they are against use of any drugs, and explain to them that inhalants are a dangerous drug. Second, keeping track of what children do and who they hang out with is vital to preventing many risky behaviors, including use of inhalants. Third, it is very important to help children pursue things that help them mature in healthy ways. This can be done by spending time with them doing things like reading, things that the child enjoys and helping them to pursue the good activities or hobbies that they want to. Fourth, children need to learn ways to handle difficult emotions such as sadness, frustration or disappointment. These days, many people express these feelings as anger or irritation and get themselves into trouble. Children are learning to handle difficulties using anger and irritation, and they are getting into trouble, too." -Ty Ridenour, a research associate in Penn State University's Prevention Research Center

Sources (Everyone shoud put these in)


  • Inhalants-Brain-Front.jpg
  • Inhalants-Heart-Front.jpg
  • inhalant.jpg
  • InhalantAbuse.gif
  • inhalantsharmfuleffects.jpg

Valuable sites to use