Inhalants

Inhalants

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 breathing stops.
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