The term “inhalant” covers a broad range of substances — including solvents, aerosols, gases, and nitrites — that have psychoactive properties when inhaled.

Many people do not typically think these products as drugs because they were never intended for that purpose. These household items are rising in abuse popularity because they are inexpensive, easy to hide, and the easiest way to get high. The Ambrosia Treatment Centers located in West Palm Beach, Singer Island and Port St. Lucie, Florida offers drug rehab services with experience in treating those who struggle with inhalant abuse.

Street Names

Poppers, Snappers, Whippets & Laughing Gas

Common Forms

Paint Thinners, Degreasers, Dry-Cleaning Fluids, Lighter Fluids, Permanent Markers, Electronics Cleaner, Spray Paint, Whipped Cream Aerosol Containers, Chloroform & Nitrous Oxide

Common Ways Taken

Inhaled Through the Nose or Mouth

Effects of Inhalants

Short-Term Effects

Inhalants cut off oxygen flow to the brain and depress the central nervous system. The effect of inhalants are similar to alcohol, including:

  • slurred speech
  • lack of coordination
  • euphoria
  • dizziness & light-headedness
  • hallucinations
  • delusions
  • not in control
  • drowsiness
  • lingering headache

Long-Term Effects

Inhalants can be lethal. Sniffing or huffing highly concentrated amounts of the chemicals can directly cause instant heart failure. Sudden Sniffing Death syndrome can result from a single session of inhalant use. High concentrations of inhalants may also cause death from suffocation, especially when inhaled from paper or plastic bag or in a closed area.

  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Hearing loss
  • Bone marrow damage
  • Loss of coordination
  • Limb spasms
  • Brain damage

How Are Inhalants Abused?

Often inhalant abusers find the household items already available in their homes. They breathe the chemicals in through the nose or mouth, commonly called “huffing.”

Inhalant abuse is often in the form of soaking a rag in chemicals to inhale through the users mouth, or they may use a balloon or plastic bag to inhale orally.

Although the high produced by inhalants usually last just a few minutes, abusers try to prolong it by continuing to inhale repeatedly over several hours.

When does Inhalant Abuse Start?

Huffing is prevalent among teens and young adults, with an average starting age of 19.

Period Lifetime (%) Past Year (%) Past Month (%)
Ages 12 or Older 8.0% 0.6% 0.2%
Ages 12 to 17 5.3% 2.1% 0.6%
Ages 18 to 25 7.0% 1.1% 0.2%
Ages 26 or Older 8.5% 0.4% 0.2%

Frequently Asked Questions

It is never too early to educate your children about the dangers of drugs. Inhalant use can start as early as elementary school since the items are often in the homes. Inhalants are poisons and toxins. They can be just as dangerous as illicit drugs, even more so fatal.

If someone you know if huffing, the best thing to do is remain calm and seek professional help. If their use is suspected, try not to accuse but rather ask and have an open conversation. If they are willing to seek help, professional mental and health services should be contacted.

Types of inhalant abuse, huffing, or snorting includes:

  • Correction fluid
  • Dust-Off
  • Diethyl Chloride
  • Dry Erase Markers/Sharpies
  • Paint Thinner
  • Lighter Fluid
  • Freon
  • Redi Whip


Because of the instant effects of the different types of inhalants, seeking treatment sooner is critical. The initial step is to call the help hotline at (866)-778-7470.

Treatment for inhalant addiction starts with the physical dependency by safely removing the harmful chemicals from the body. When cleared by a physician, the psychological, life and social factors are treated with an individualized combination of proven clinical and holistic therapies.

Ambrosia Treatment Center offers rehab options at our various rehab centers located in West Palm Beach, Singer Island and Port St. Lucie, Florida. Our team is ready and waiting to help you. Start the admissions process today.

We Accept Most Insurances

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