Gases / Chemicals

What are gases and chemicals?

Gases are used in household or commercial products, including butane lighters, propane tanks, and refrigerant gases. There are also medical anesthetic gases such as ether and chloroform.

Are these products being abused?

YES.  Gases and chemicals are being used in ways other than their intended purpose.  It is important to note that medical anesthetic gases are useful and safe when they are administered by a doctor, but they can be dangerous when abused and used to obtain a high.   Gases like butane, propane, and helium are never meant to be consumed.

Examples of products being abused

Nitrous Oxide
Butane
Propane
Helium
Ether
Chloroform
Halothane

Signs of abuse

Different inhalants yield different effects, yet generally speaking, because inhaled chemicals are absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream and distributed quickly to the brain and other organs, the effects of inhaling can be severe. Within minutes, the user experiences feelings of intoxication and may become dizzy, have headaches, abdominal pain, limb spasms, lack of coordination, loss of control, hallucinations, and impaired judgment. Worse, he or she may even die from a condition known as Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome, which can even occur with first time users.

Long-term inhalant users generally suffer from muscle weakness, inattentiveness, lack of coordination, irritability, depression, liver or kidney damage and central nervous system (including brain) damage. The dangers are real, the side effects are severe and the high is not worth risking your life.

Below is a HELPful way to remember the warning signs of an inhalant abuser:
H
idden chemical-soaked rags or clothes
E
yes and nose red or runny
L
oss of appetite or nausea
P
aint or chemical stains on face or fingers

Inhalant Abuse Cases Involving Gases

Check out the Inhalant Blog for cases involving the abuse of gases.  Search by date, location, or product type.  Click here.