GET THE FACTS ...Inhalants Affects Your Brain. Inhalants are substances or fumes from products such as glue or paint thinner that are sniffed or "huffed" to cause an immediate high. Because they affect your brain with much greater speed and force than many other substances, they can cause irreversible physical and mental damage before you know what's happened.
Inhalants Affects Your Heart. Inhalants starve the body of oxygen and force the heart to beat irregularly and more rapidly - that can be dangerous for your body.
Inhalants Damage Other Parts of Your Body. People who use inhalants can lose their sense of smell; experience nausea and nosebleeds; and develop liver, lung, and kidney problems. Chronic use can lead to muscle wasting and reduced muscle tone and strength.
Inhalants Can Kill You. Inhalants can kill you instantly. Inhalant users can die by suffocation, chocking on their vomit, or having a heart attack.
BEFORE YOU RISK IT ...Get the Facts.Inhalants can kill you the very first time you use them.
Stay Informed. Inhalants include a large group of chemicals that are found in such household products as aerosol sprays, cleaning fluids, glue, pain, paint thinner, gasoline, propane, nail polish remover, correction fluid, and marker pens. None of these are safe to inhale - they all can kill you.
Be Aware. Chemicals like amyl nitrate and isobutyl nitrate ("poppers"), and nitrous oxide ("whippets") are often sold at concerts and dance clubs. They can permanently damage your body and brain.
Know the Risks.Chronic inhalant abusers may permanently lose the ability to perform everday functions like walking, talking, and thinking.
Look Around You.The vast majority of teens aren't using inhalants. According to a 1998 study, only 1.1% of teens are regular inhalant users and 94% of teens have never even tried inhalants.
KNOW THE SIGNS ...How can you tell if a friend is using inhalants? Sometimes it's tough to tell. But there are signs you can look for. If your friend has one or more of the following warning signs, he or she may be using inhalants:
- Slurred speech
- Drunk, dizzy, or dazed appearance
- Unusual breath odor
- Chemical smell on clothing
- Paint stains on body or face
- Red eyes
- Runny nose
Q & A ...Q: Since inhalants are found in household products, aren't they safe?
A:No. Even though household products like glue and air freshener have legal, useful purposes, when they are used as inhalants they are harmful and dangerous. These products are not intended to be inhaled.
Q:Doesn't it take many "huffs" before you're in danger?
A: No. One "huff" of an inhalant can kill you. Or the 10th. Or the 100th. Every huff can be dangerous. Even if you have huffed before without experiencing a problem, there's no way of knowing how the next huff will affect you.
Q:Can inhalants make me lose control?
A: Yes. Inhalants affect your brain and can cause you to suddenly engage in violent, or even deadly behavior. You could hurt yourself or the people you love.
For more information, visit www.health.org