“Inhalants” is the broad term given to the number of household chemicals that can be abused by inhaling for an intoxicating effect.  Examples of products that can be used in inhalants are commercial adhesives, lighter fluids, cleaning solvents, and paint products.

Users ingest inhalant chemicals in various ways, including:

  • Inhaling directly from containers of products such as rubber cement or correction fluid
  • Inhaling fumes from plastic bags
  • Sniffing a cloth saturated with an intoxicating substance
  • Inhaling directly from an aerosol can
  • Heating a substance to release intoxicating vapors

The typical effects of using inhalants are similar to alcohol intoxication.

What Are the Dangers of Inhalants?

Inhalants work by starving the brain of oxygen.  Negative health effects of inhalant use can include headaches, nausea, vomiting, and loss of coordination.  Withdrawal symptoms from inhalant use can include shaking or seizures.  In some cases, inhalant use can lead to liver damage, kidney damage, unconsciousness or death.
Because inhalants are so widely available, young adolescents are their most frequent users.  Studies have shown that inhalant use at young ages leads to memory loss, learning problems, behavior issues, and other drug use.

How Does the Law Regulate Inhalants?

Because most products that are abused as inhalants are common household products, they are not regulated under the federal Controlled Substances Act.  However, many states have laws restricting sales of such products to minors.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you have been charged with illegal possession, sale, or use of inhalants,  you should contact a drug lawyer.  A lawyer can help you to explain the laws of your state, and any defenses that may be available to you.