Street Terms: Whippets, poppers, snappers, air blast, moon gas, oz, poor man’s pot, bolt, boppers, bullet rush, satan’s secret, buzz bomb, shoot the breeze, snotballs, Texas shoe shine, highball, thrust, hippie crack, toilet water, huff, toncho, laughing gas, and locker room.
Inhalants are volatile substances or fumes from products such as glue or paint thinner that are sniffed or “huffed” to cause a high. Inhalants affect the brain with great speed and force and keep oxygen from reaching the lungs. Animal and human research shows that most inhalants are extremely toxic. Perhaps the most significant toxic effect of chronic exposure to inhalants is widespread and long-lasting damage to the brain and other parts of the nervous system. The intoxication produced by inhalants usually lasts just a few minutes; therefore, users often try to extend the “high” by continuing to inhale repeatedly over several hours, which increases the risk.
In addition to these physical and mental health problems, recent research shows that inhalant use is associated with symptoms of depression. Between 2004 and 2006, an estimated 218,000 youths aged 12-17 used inhalants and also experienced depression in the past year. The same research showed that depressed teens were more than three times as likely to start using inhalants than teens with no symptoms of depression. The reverse is also true, showing that teens often started using inhalants before depression began.
Solvent (usually fast drying glues and adhesives, assorted paint and petroleum products, lighter fluid, dry-cleaning fluids, assorted aerosol sprays, surgical spirit, cleaners etc.) abuse involves inhaling the fumes from domestic and industrial products creating a strong intoxication.
Traditionally referred to as ‘glue sniffing’, the vast majority of solvent abusers are between the ages of 11-16 and usually male. The most common method of inhaling solvents is by inhaling them from a plastic bag which is placed over the face.
A feeling of strong intoxication kicks in almost immediately with some users experiencing hallucinations. The effects are short lived, resulting in the prospect of repeated abuse