What are inhalants?

Inhalants are a wide range of household and industrial products containing vapors or gas that people breathe in through their nose or mouth to become “high”. There are many common household items that are used for purposes other than what the manufacturer intended them for.  Different inhalants cause different effects, yet they generally fall into one of four categories:

Volatile solvents: Liquids which turn into gas at room temperature; examples include:

  • Paint thinner
  • Nail polish remover
  • Gasoline
  • White Out
  • Glue

Aerosols: Substances contained under pressure that release a fine spray; examples include:

  • Hair spray
  • Spray paint
  • Vegetable oil sprays
  • Fabric protector sprays

Gases: Substances that can be used for household, commercial and medical use; examples include:

  • Butane lighters
  • Propane tanks
  • Whipped cream cans
  • Anesthesia
  • Chloroform
  • Nitrous oxide

Nitrites: Typically found in small brown bottles labeled as the following:

  • Organic nitrites (ex. Amyl, butyl and cyclohexyl nitrites)
  • Amyl nitrite (Once used to alleviate chest pain and still used to diagnose heart problems)
  • Nitrites (Prohibited by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, but still found in small products labeled as “video head cleaner”, “liquid aroma” and “leather cleaner”)

Many parents worry about their children experimenting with alcohol or drugs such as marijuana, unfortunately, many do not realize there are dangerous substances right at home. Children will often become curious and experiment with these household items, not realizing the dangers they are posing to their health. Since these items are easy to come by, inhalants are often the first drug a child will try.