Inhalant dependence is a physical and/or psychological dependence on inhalant use whereas addiction is when users can’t control their use of inhalants despite being aware of the consequential mental and physical health effects.
Inhalants are called such due to their administration by inhalation. The ease of purchase and presence of inhalants in the home makes it very difficult to quit using them. They include products such as spray paints, markers, glues, and cleaning fluids. Inhalants are most commonly used by children and adolescents, and 13% to 16% of eight graders have used them at least once.
Inhalants are dangerous, addictive, unstable, and flammable chemicals in the form of vapors or pressurized gases. When inhaled, sprayed onto the mouth or nose mucosal lining, or absorbed from a sprayed rag and placed in the mouth, inhalants have psychoactive properties and produce brief, psychotropic effects. They disturb the central nervous system and slow brain activity, and can kill users during just one use from a heart attack or asphyxiation. Called huff, hippie crack, whippets, or laughing gas; inhaling them as a drug can be called snorting, bagging, sniffing, or huffing.