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Commonly Abused Inhalants

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Inhalants encompass any substances that are used (usually by adolescents, teens, and young adults) with the express purpose of getting high.

These are usually substances and items commonly found around the house.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the most commonly abused inhalant substances include:

  • Nitrites
  • Gases
  • Aerosols
  • Solvents

The use of these substances for the purposes of getting high is exceedingly dangerous. One-time use could be enough to cause instant death or brain damage. It’s simply not worth the risk. If your loved one is abusing inhalants for any reason, contact us at Michael’s House today at 760.548.4032 for information about treatment options.

Commonly Abused Inhalants

Not sure what constitutes a household product that may be utilized for the purposes of getting high? Many people are shocked to find that substances and solutions that they store in their bathroom medicine cabinet or out in the garage can be substances of abuse.

Among them are:


  • Hair spray
  • Deodorant spray
  • Cooking oil spray
  • Cleaning products in spray cans
  • Spray paint

  • Paint thinner
  • Gasoline
  • Dry cleaning chemicals
  • Lighter fluid
  • Paint remover
  • Glue
  • Fluid from felt tip markers

  • Propane
  • Refrigerant gases
  • Nitrous oxide 
Nitrites (most often used among adults in the club scene):

  • Amyl nitrites, also called “poppers”

Slang Terms Associated with Inhalant Abuse

There are a number of slang terms that may be used to refer to the activity of abusing inhalant drugs.

These include:

  • Bagging
  • Huffing
  • Glading
  • Sniffing
  • Snorting
  • Ballooning
  • Dusting

Signs of Inhalant Abuse

There are a number of different signs that can signify that someone in your family is abusing household products with the intent to get high.

They include:

  • Finding large amounts of household products missing or empty containers with no other explanation
  • Finding receipts for the purchase of large amounts of these items with no other explanation for their use
  • Paraphernalia including balloons, paper bags, plastic bags, whipped cream containers, rags/sleeves/cotton balls of clothing that smell of chemicals or are soaked in chemicals, soda cans modified for huffing, etc.
  • Marks of paint or marker on the person’s face, especially in the area of the mouth or nose
  • A chemical smell on a person’s hair, hands, skin, etc.

Inhalants Are Drugs

Just because the substances used as inhalants are not illegal, it doesn’t mean that they are safe to abuse. Their use can be deadly, but they can also be the first behaviors that lead to a lifelong problem with substance abuse and addiction.

The good news is that therapeutic intervention can be helpful, empowering people who abuse inhalants to learn better ways to manage the underlying issues that may be driving them to seek getting high (e.g., boredom, problems at home, untreated mental health issues, etc.). Relapse prevention skills can enable people to make better choices and avoid returning to drug use of any kind after treatment while securing the support that will help them to find a new and more positive focus in their lives.

If you are concerned that someone you care about is abusing inhalants, contact us at Michael’s House today at 760.548.4032 to learn more about the treatment services we provide and how we can help.

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