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Commonly Abused Inhalants

Victory Bay

Common inhalants include everyday household products like hair spray, spray paint, and room deodorants that can be inhaled through the nose or mouth to produce intoxicating or mind-altering effects, similar to those produced by using drugs or alcohol.

Because of their everyday uses, inhalants are easy to obtain, can be found in most homes and garages, and many don’t have age restrictions for purchase. Inhalant abuse is most common among teens, especially younger teens, and is often the first drug that kids use.

At Victory Bay Recovery Center, we recognize the seriousness of inhalant abuse and the damaging effects that common inhalants can have on users. Overcoming inhalant abuse requires support, and treatment is available. Call us today at [Direct] to learn more about treatment for inhalant abuse and how we can help you or your loved ones overcome inhalant addiction.

What Are Inhalants?

Inhalants are household, commercial, and medical substances that produce volatile vapors that can be inhaled into the lungs to cause intoxicating effects; effects, and uses not intended by the manufacturers. More than 1000 common household and commercial products can be abused as inhalants. Inhalants fall into four main categories: solvents, gasses, and nitrates.


Solvents include a wide variety of gasoline, paint thinner, paint remover, permanent markers, glues and cement, nail polish remover, lighter fluid, felt tip markers, and correction fluid. Solvents are liquids that vaporize at room temperature; these vapors can be easily inhaled.


Aerosols, like spray paint and hair spray, contain both solvents and propellants. Other common aerosol inhalants are cooking sprays, fabric protector, and room deodorizer sprays.


Often called whippets, nitrous oxide used in whipped cream canisters is the most commonly abused gas inhalant. Other gasses used as inhalants include butane from lighters, refrigerants, and propane.


Nitrites are medical products that relax muscles and dilate blood vessels. Used to enhance sex rather than to produce psychoactive effects, these inhalants are generally used by older teens and adults. Nitrates are banned for human use and may not be sold in the U.S. However, these substances are still found in room deodorizers, leather cleaners, and video head cleaner and include butyl nitrite and amyl nitrite.

How Are Inhalants Used?

Inhalants are inhaled through the nose or mouth in different ways and known by several terms:

  • Inhaling: Breathing in vapors through the nose or mouth
  • Spraying: Sprayed into the nose or mouth
  • Bagging: Inhaled from a balloon or bag
  • Huffing: Inhaled from a rag soaked in the substance
  • Sniffing: Sniffed or snorted into the nose

Inhalant Abuse Effects

Prolonged use causes cumulative damage to the central nervous system and irreparable damage to major organs and body systems. Inhalants starve the body of oxygen, and large amounts can cause suffocation and, ultimately, death. Prolonged inhalant abuse can also cause mood changes, loss of coordination, muscle weakness, impaired memory, depression, and even hearing loss.

During or shortly after use, inhalants cause short-term, intoxicating effects similar to those caused by using alcohol and other drugs:

  • Feelings of drunkenness
  • Euphoria
  • Dizziness
  • Apathy
  • Belligerence
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Impaired functioning
  • Delirium
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Dizziness

Addiction Treatment at Victory Bay

It’s important to know the signs that your loved one may abuse inhalants and seek appropriate support and treatment for inhalant abuse. Chemical and abnormal odors on the body, breath, or clothing; paint stains on the hands, face, or clothing; red or runny nose or eyes; changes in mood; slurred speech; drunk or dizzy appearance; and empty spray cans, especially if they’re hidden, are all signs that your loved one may be abusing inhalants.

At Victory Bay Recovery Center, our highly skilled recovery specialists are trained to support you or your loved one to recover from the damaging effects of inhalant abuse. Call us today at [Direct] or contact us through the online form.

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