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A Guide to Drugs and the Brain



Drug Effects

Drug Research

Drug Street Names

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Inhalants are legal products abused by those who sniff or inhale them for the purpose of getting high. Inhalants fall into three categories: volatile solvents such as glue, gasoline, aerosols; anesthetics such as nitrous oxide; and nitrites such as amyl and butyl nitrite.

Inhalants act on the brain and destroy the outer lining of nerve cells, making it impossible for those cells to communicate. Symptoms of use include dilated pupils, blisters or rash around the nose or mouth, chronic cough, nausea and headaches, disorientation, and a chemical odor on breath. After only six months of use, the brain, lungs, nerves, liver, kidneys and bones may be permanently damaged. More than 60 young people died from sniffing inhalants in 1993 in the United States.

Common Street Names
Glue, whipped cream, poppers, rush.

Legal Status
Legislation varies from state to state. In some states it is illegal to inhale fumes intentionally for the purpose of intoxication.


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