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Inhalant Drug Abuse

Inhalant drug abuse is not usually thought of as being a serious drug problem but the truth is that inhalant drug abuse is more dangerous than some of the strongest marijuana and alcohol. Not just that but inhalant drug abuse is most prominent among children and young adults. Inhalant drug abuse among children and young adults is a problem because of the different ways that it affects their minds and bodies at a young age; it may also set them up for heavier drug use as they get older. It’s important to talk to your kids about drugs like Inhalants so that they are aware of the risks they’re taking with their health.

Inhalant drug abuse is using any kind of material or substance that can be inhaled in order to get high. Inhalant drug abuse is also known as huffing. These products can range from nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas), air freshener, spray paint, or keyboard cleaner. Once the chemicals are inhaled they quickly enter the bloodstream and are distributed to the brain.  Within minutes the inhalant drug abuser experiences an intoxicated or euphoric high that is similar to the euphoria produced by alcohol. With inhalant drug abuse this euphoria only last a few minutes so the inhalant drug abuser continues to inhale the toxins to prolong their “high”.

The dangers of inhalant drug abuse are quickly felt and can last for a long time. Inhaling poisonous chemicals naturally has some serious negative side effects. Here are some of the negative short-term side effects of inhalant drug abuse:

  • headaches
  • muscle weakness
  • abdominal pain
  • severe mood swings
  • violent behavior
  • belligerence
  • slurred speech
  • numbness
  • tingling of hands and feet
  • nausea
  • hearing loss
  • depressed reflexes
  • stupor
  • loss of consciousness
  • limb spasms
  • fatigue
  • lack of coordination
  • apathy
  • impaired judgment
  • dizziness
  • lethargy
  • visual disturbances

An inhalant drug abuser will also begin to feel stimulated after repeated use and will also have some loss of inhibition. With continuous inhalant use it is possible an inhalant drug abuser may end up having hallucinations.

The long-term effects of repeated inhalant drug abuse are little bit more serious and can be as extreme as death. Here are some of the more long-term effects of inhalant drug abuse:

  • weight loss,
  • muscle weakness,
  • disorientation,
  • inattentiveness,
  • lack of coordination,
  • irritability
  • depression

Inhalant drug abuse can produce different dangerous effects in different people at different times. Inhalant drug abuse can also damage vital organs and some of the harmful effects of inhalant drug abuse are irreversible. Some even more serious effects of inhalant drug abuse are:

  • liver and kidney damage
  • hearing loss,
  • limb spasms,
  • bone marrow damage
  • central nervous system (including brain) damage

There is also a chance with inhalant drug abuse of having Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome. Children can die the first time, or any time of inhalant drug abuse. While it can occur with many types of inhalants, it is particularly associated with the abuse of air conditioning coolant, butane, propane, electronics and the chemicals in some aerosol products. Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome is usually associated with cardiac arrest. The inhalant causes the heart to beat rapidly and erratically, resulting in cardiac arrest which then results in death.

Huffing or inhalant drug abuse may seem less serious on the outside but it is so serious especially because its users are typically children. This is something that everyone should be aware of and something that should not be taken lightly. Because of the irreversible (death) and even reversible damage inhalant drug abuse can cause.

If you or someone you know needs treatment for Alcohol and/or Inhalant Drug Addiction please call us at 800-951-6135 or visit us online at

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