Solvents, Glue and other Inhalants

This information is available from PAD’s Parent & Community Handbook, 7th edition (2013).


Solvents, Glue and other Inhalants

The use of glue and other solvents is more popular with younger teens (in grades seven and eight) than older youth. These drugs are readily available in the form of household and commercial products and include nail polish remover, lighter fluid, cleaning fluids, paint thinner, gasoline, and model airplane cement.  The users inhale fumes by holding a bag or cloth containing the substance over the face.

Short-term Effects

  • the person may experience a euphoric feeling, light-headedness, exhilaration and vivid fantasies
  • the person may experience nausea, drooling, sneezing and coughing, poor muscular control

Long-term Effects

  • the person may experience thirst, weight loss, nosebleeds, fatigue
  • the person may experience feelings of hostility and feelings of persecution
  • “Sudden sniffing death” can follow strenuous exercise or undue stress after the person has inhaled deeply, caused by heart failure.  Death by suffocation has occurred after users have become unconscious with a plastic bag over nose and mouth.
  • with some substances such as leaded gasoline there are signs of brain damage
  • kidney and liver damage can also occur
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