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Inhalants

Inhalant use is the voluntary inhalation of volatile substances to achieve intoxication. When inhaled, these substances cause a "high" because they contain chemicals that affect the brain.

The most common inhalants are readily available to anyone. Various forms include model airplane glues, nail polish removers, paints, varnish thinners, lighter fluids, Cleaning fluids, gasoline, antifreeze, and aerosol sprays.

To get high, users pour the substance onto a cloth or into a plastic bag and then breathe in the vapours. In general, inhalants act as a central nervous system depressant, much like alcohol or anaesthetics. Although the impairing effects of inhalants are usually more pronounced, they fade more rapidly than other drugs such as alcohol. As with All psychoactive drugs, the effects of inhalants depend on the personality and the mood of the user and the circumstances of use.

In recent years, a number of people have died of suffocation while inhaling these substances. Death can occur when the user loses consciousness, while the plastic bag is still in place over the mouth and nose.

Short of death, chronic inhalant users risk irritation or damage to the nerves and nervous system, kidneys, lungs, or other body tissues. Further hazards of sniffing,

Which result from impairment, include accidents and burns. Injuries can result from the explosion of these highly volatile ingredients.

The chronic use of inhalants can aggravate an already existing emotional disorder.

Regular sniffing may set a pattern for alcohol dependency or other forms of drug abuse.

The most typical inhalant users are children or adolescents. Health and welfare Canada surveys report that use of glue or solvents ranged from 1.3 percent to 6.6 percent of the students surveyed. Although long-term, chronic sniffers are likely troubled individuals with many serious problems, occasional users simply sniff out of curiosity. The low cost and easy availability of the substances, combined with the low-profile nature of the activity, contribute to initial use.