Facts, effects and information about inhalants

Drug Name:

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Inhalants are divided into 4 categories: Volatile solvents, gases, aerosols and nitrites:

  1. Volatile Solvents: Liquids that become a gas at room temperature Examples: Paint thinners/removers, gasoline and glues
  2. Gases: Contains nitrous oxide. Examples: Propane tanks, medical gases and refrigerants
  3. Aerosols: The most widespread inhalant in most homes. Examples: Spray paint, hairsprays, and cooking oil/sprays
  4. Nitrites: Includes chemicals like cyclohexyl nitrite, amyl nitrite and butyl nitrite. They release vapors when opened. Examples: Deodorizers and capsules

Type of drug


Short term effects

  • Hallucinations/delusions
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Increased heart rate
  • Headaches and nosebleeds

Long Term effects

  • Permanent brain damage
  • Depression
  • Loss of sense, smell and hearing
  • Possibly death

How it is used

  1. Sniffing/snorting fumes from containers
  2. Spraying directly in the nose or mouth (aerosols)
  3. Sniffing inhalants sprayed in a bag, aka Bagging
  4. Huffed from inhalant soaked rag stuffed in the mouth
  5. Inhaling from balloons filled with nitrous oxide
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Legal status of drug

Inhalants are currently illegal in the US, Canada, England and most parts of Western and South Australia.

Social factors that may influence substance abuse

  • Irregular peer relationships
  • Popularity
  • Bullying

How can decision making skills and communication be used to respond to different influences

Decision making and communication skills can help a lot with responding to different influences. For example, if you are being pressured to do drugs even though you don’t want to, then you can speak up by saying no to them or you can tell your parents or a trusted adult that you are being pressure. Also, if you don’t want to get into this situation, then make the right decisions and choose who you hang out with.