What are solvents?

Solvents are liquid organic chemicals that are used to dissolve solid materials.  Solvents are used in paints, varnishes, inks, paint thinners, aerosol spray products, permanent marking pens, glues, adhesives, and much more.

Are these products being abused?

YES.  These products serve great purposes when they are used as intended and as directed on the product label.  However, they are being used for other purposes like getting high.  Solvent abuse involves inhaling the fumes of these products creating a strong intoxication.

Examples of products being abused

Nail polish remover
Paint thinner
Paint remover
Correction fluid
Toxic magic markers
Pure toluene
Lighter fluid
Carburetor cleaner
Octane booster
Air conditioning coolant
Fire extinguishers

Signs of abuse

Like other products, the signs of abuse are different for each product. With solvents, it is important to take note if these products, like paints and refrigerants, are running low, need replaced often, or appear to have been tampered with.  These could be 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:

Hidden chemical-soaked rags or clothes
yes and nose red or runny
oss of appetite or nausea
aint or chemical stains on face or fingers

 Inhalant Abuse Cases Involving Solvents

Check out the Inhalant Abuse Blog to read cases of inhalant abuse involving solvents.  Search by date, location, and product type.  Click here.