Habits and Behaviors - Inhalants

Inhalants are products that people sniff to get high. The sniffing of glue, solvents, aerosols, cleaning agents, gas from dessert topping sprays, and other gases is common. Because common, everyday products found in most homes and grocery stores can be used as inhalants, sniffing, also called huffing, is popular with teens and others who don't have money or access to buy illegal drugs. People who use inhalants are sometimes referred to as "huffers."

Sniffing is a deadly habit that gained much notoriety in the 1990s, although the practice existed before then. Because the inhalants are legal, everyday products, many teens do not view sniffing as being as harmful as doing "hard" drugs. This is a dangerous and untrue belief. Symptoms of inhalant use are slurred speech, mental disorientation, headaches, dizziness and weakness, muscle spasms, euphoria, and nystagmus (eye movement from side to side). Some of the more serious adverse effects are nausea and vomiting, confusion, panic, tension, aggressive behavior, and permanent brain damage. At higher doses use of inhalants can cause respiratory depression and eventual unconsciousness, resulting in coma and death. Sniffing can also cause heart failure.

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