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What is it?

"Inhalants" refers to the various substances that people typically take only by inhaling. Inhalants includes solvents (liquids that become gas at room temperature), aerosol sprays, gases and nitrates (prescription medicines for chest pain). Common inhalants are found in household items such as paint thinner or removers, dry cleaning fluids, art supplies (such as correction fluids and glue), spray paints, hair/deodorant sprays, butane lighters and whipped cream aerosols.

What does it do?

Inhalants produce a quick, intense high that feels like alcohol intoxication. The initial pleasure experienced by the user is followed by drowsiness, lightheadedness, and often agitation. As the amount of inhalant used increases, the likelihood for loss of senses and unconsciousness also increases.

Side effects

Inhalant use cuts off the flow of oxygen to the brain. In the long term, inhalant use can damage the liver and kidney, cause hearing loss, bone marrow damage, nerve damage leading to loss of coordination and limb spasms, brain problems that delay behavioral development, and brain damage.

A person is able to overdose on inhalants; an overdose occurs when a person uses too much of a drug, causing harmful effects on the body and brain, sometimes resulting in death.


Abuse, N. I. (n.d.). Inhalants. Retrieved June 09, 2017, from


Inhalants are commonly referred to using the following slang terms: "aimies, rush, dusting, poppers."

  • The National Inhalant Prevention Coalition Information on inhalants and huffing. Statistics, how to recognize signs of inhalant use, tips for teachers, products abused as inhalants, FAQs, prevention campaign, Spanish version.

  • Inhalants Comprehensive information for teens from NIDA.

  • Inhalants.DrugAbuse.Gov National Institute on Drug Abuse, (NIDA), site that collects all NIDA's information on inhalants in one place.