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Inhalants is when a liquid’s fumes are inhaled or gasses that are inhaled directly.  Inhalants move into the blood stream instantly yet can take weeks to exit the body.  Inhalants are toxic and are more common in younger children with little money.  The reason for this is that inhalants are very convenient and inexpensive.  A lot of inhalants are found in normal household items.  Inhalants are used by inhaling the fumes on a rag or towel.  Some short term symptoms are euphoria, dizziness, and bad breath while long term symptoms include unconsciousness, kidney damage, organ damage and brain damage.  This damage is irreversible.  It can also cause lack of oxygen to the brain which would result in seizures and death.  Some examples of inhalants are nitrites (poppers such of amyl nitrate and butyl nitrate) and nitrous oxide.  Nitrous oxide is still used today as anesthesia in dentist’s offices.

Inhalants affect the central nervous system in many ways.  Long term users report tremors and lack of vision.  Chronic exposure causes damage to the brain, specifically the cortex and cerebellum and restricts the blood flow to the brain.  Also, cognitive impairment have been reported and also hearing loss.
Long term affects include nosebleeds, ulcers of the nose, short term memory loss, slurred speech, loss of hearing and vision, weight loss, lethargy and depression.  Short term effects of inhalants include similar effects to that of alcohol.  Coughing and wheezing, slurred speech, delusions, hallucinations, and headaches are all short term effects that can come on immediately.


McKim, William A. Drugs and Behavior: an Introduction to Behavioral Pharmacology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 2007. Print.

Inhalants. Films Media Group, 1999. Films On Demand. Web. 28 March 2011. <>.