Anything that emits fumes or that is in an aerosol form can be inhaled by
your child to produce a high. There are many types of inhalants, including
nitrous oxide (laughing gas), amyl nitrite (poppers, snappers), and butyl
nitrite (rush, bolt, locker room, bullet, climax). Also included in this group
are aerosol sprays (e.g. spray paint and cleaning fluid), and hydrocarbons
such as gasoline, glue and paint thinner. The fumes from many household products
can be inhaled to produce a high, such as lighter fluid, hair spray, whipped
cream cannisters, typewriter correction fluid, paint, and nail polish remover.
The effects of inhalants on your child's body depend on which type of inhalant
has been taken. Solvents and aerosol sprays decrease the heart and respiratory
rates and impair judgement. Amyl and butyl nitrite cause rapid pulse, headaches,
and involuntary passing of urine or feces. Other immediate effects of inhalants
include nausea, sneezing, coughing, nosebleeds, fatigue, lack of coordination,
and loss of appetite. Long-term use may result in weight loss, electrolyte
imbalance, muscle fatigue, hepatitis or brain hemorrhage. Repeated sniffing
of concentrated vapors over time can permanently damage the brain, nervous
system, lungs, and nasal passages.
Deeply inhaling vapors or using large amounts over a short period of time
may result in disorientation, violent behavior, unconsciousness, or death.
High concentrations of inhalants can cause suffocation by displacing the oxygen
in the lungs or by depressing the central nervous system to the point that