Inhalant Abuse Prevention Quick Facts
House Concurrent Resolution No. 24 of the 2016 Regular Legislative Session urged the Louisiana Department of Health Office of Behavioral Health to raise awareness of addictive disorders involving abuse of inhalants and make efforts to reduce the prevalence of inhalant abuse. The public awareness efforts are dedicated to the memory of the late Jordan Lambert Soileau of Denham Springs, Louisiana.
What are Inhalants?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health, although other abused drugs can be inhaled, the term “inhalant” is reserved for a variety of substances including, but not limited to solvents, aerosols, gases, and nitrites that are rarely, if ever, taken by any other route of administration. 1
How are Inhalants Abused?
Most inhalants are breathed in rapidly through the nose, mouth, or both in a practice known as “huffing”. 2
According to the Caring Communities Youth Survey (CCYS) conducted statewide in Louisiana, for lifetime inhalant use, reported usage decreased for all grades surveyed. The decreases from 2010 to 2014 were as follows: 35% among 6th graders, 22% among 8th graders, 21% among 10th graders, and 31% among 12th graders.
For past 30 day inhalant use, reported usage decreased for all grades surveyed. The decreases from 2010 to 2014 were as follows: 25% among 6th graders, 25% among 8th graders, 18% among 10th graders, and 25% among 12th graders. 3
*Percentage average of the reported usage from 2010, 2012, and 2014.
What Are the Common Street Names?
Common slang for inhalants includes "laughing gas" (nitrous oxide), "snappers" (amyl nitrite), "poppers" (amyl nitrite and butyl nitrite), "whippets" (fluorinated hydrocarbons, found in whipped cream dispensers), "bold" (nitrites), and "rush" (nitrites). 4
Can Inhalant Use Cause Medical Problems?
Yes. Both short-term and long-term inhalant use can cause serious medical problems. Short-term medical problems associated with inhalant use include seizures; nosebleeds; nausea; loss of appetite; decreased heart rate; decreased respiratory rate; headaches; and abdominal pain. Long-term medical problems associated with frequent inhalant use include pallor; weight loss; sores on the nose and mouth; bone marrow damage; impaired liver function, including cirrhosis; impaired kidney function; decreased motor coordination; fatigue; decreased sense of smell; lung damage; hearing loss; and impaired immune function.5
Can Inhalant Use Cause Psychological problems?
Inhalant abuse can cause damage to the parts of the brain that control thinking, moving, seeing, and hearing. Cognitive abnormalities can range from mild impairment to severe dementia.6
Resources Available for Inhalant Abuse Prevention:
- Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit
- The Inhalant Abuse Quiz
(For Middle and High School Students)
- ACE and SADD Inhalant Abuse Prevention Facilitators Guide and Lesson Plan
(For SADD Clubs)
Please visit the following reference links for additional information:
Download this fact sheet: