surface area, the gaseous substance is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream causing
the user to feel the substance's effects very soon. The list of substances commonly
inhaled changes constantly. Each generation seems to add new substances and delete
some of the old ones. Inhalants of the 1960s were chiefly plastic model glue, nail polish
removers, and aerosol sprays. Today, some of the most commonly inhaled substances
are paint thinners, paint removers, lighter fluids, dry cleaning fluids, kerosene and other
petroleum products, anesthetic gases, and cements. Plastic model glue and nail polish
removers are still used extensively. Substances most likely chosen by inhalant abusers
have these characteristics in common:
(1) Substances exist in consumer products which are readily available to the
public (can be purchased in grocery stores, drug stores, paint stores, etc.).
Substances can be inhaled easily into the respiratory tract.
(3) Substance selected acts either as a stimulant or a depressant on the
user's central nervous system.
Substance the user is inhaling can prove fatal.
b. Signs/Symptoms of Inhalant Abuse. Included are the following:
Loss of reflexes.
Respiratory and/or cardiac failure.
Inhalant users describe the sensations they feel from inhalants as euphoric
(an excessive feeling of happiness and well-being) and exciting along with the
feeling that something wonderful is about to happen. Unfortunately, these
feelings are often accompanied by a sense of reckless abandon and sense of
being all powerful, feelings which often lead to impulsive and/or destructive
c. Treatment for Inhalant Abuse. Follow this procedure:
Support the patient's vital signs.
Administer oxygen to the patient.