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Alcohol & Drug Info

Solvents

inhalant picture

How does sniffing solvents make you feel?

Sniffing different types of substances can cause you to feel dizzy and unsteady on your feet or relaxed and happy.

Why shouldn't you sniff substances?

The problem with sniffing is that you can form a type of dependency. That means you might want to keep sniffing. The chemicals in solvents such as toluene, lead, acetone, methanol, ether, can cause a range of health problems for some people.

Is sniffing dangerous?

The use of petrol and some aerosol cans can be very dangerous. Short or long term use can cause memory loss, hallucinations, and depression.

What if I sniff while I am pregnant?

Using solvents can affect unborn babies by reducing their birth weight and increase the risk of miscarriage because the toxins get into the blood stream.

Will I get any health problems if I choose to sniff solvents?

You may experience memory loss if you use solvents a lot. Chest pains, stomach cramps and headaches can be a problem. Young women may find that their periods stop.

Most health problems do go away when sniffing stops, although petrol sniffers often experience longer-term problems relating to memory loss.

Where can I get help for my sniffing?


If you need help phone:

YOUTHLINE, Freephone 0800 376 633 or the

Ministry of Youth Affairs (04) 471 2158

What type of help will I get?

There are people who provide counseling for young people with solvent abuse problems and programmes that provide a residential service if a young person feels that they need help away from friends.

When I am sniffing is there any way I can make sure I am safer?


Safety tips

What are inhalants?

Inhalants used to alter the mind are drugs. Any chemical product, which releases fumes, can be inhaled. Inhalants act as a depressant by slowing down thinking and actions. Examples of products used as inhalants are nail polish remover, paints and petrol.

What do inhalants do?

Inhalants enter the bloodstream quickly. The effects on behaviour are similar to being drunk. At first the user appears relaxed. Reduced coordination and slowed reactions follow. Continued use of inhalants can lead to increased risk taking and hallucinations. Finally loss of consciousness can occur bringing the danger of vomiting and choking.

How will I feel while using Inhalants?

Inhalants cause sneezing, nosebleeds and bloodshot eyes. Loss of appetite is also likely. Inhalants slow down the heart rate and breathing rate increasing the risk of heart failures. Using inhalants also increases the risk of suffocation.

What long term effect will using inhalants have?

Permanent damage to the brain and the nervous system may result from the abuse of inhalants. There is an increased risk of liver and kidney damage. Breathing diseases such as pneumonia are more likely.

Can I use inhalants with other drugs?

Health risks are increased if inhalants are used with other drugs. Drugs that slow down body systems such as tranquillisers and alcohol are especially risky. Loss of consciousness, coma or death can result.

What withdrawal symptoms will I get if I stop using?

Headaches, nausea and drowsiness follow stopping the use of inhalants. Chills, hallucinations, abdominal pains and muscular cramps may also result.

How can I help someone if they have collapsed from using inhalants?