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Inhalant Abuse

  • By: Matthew O. Howard, Brian E. Perron, Michael G. Vaughn & Eric L. Garland
  • In: Encyclopedia of Lifestyle Medicine & Health
  • Edited by: James M. Rippe
  • Subject:Health Psychology / Behavioral Medicine, Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology

Inhalant abuse refers to the inhalation of vapors from commercial products or specific chemical agents for the purpose of intoxication. Although it is among the most prevalent, pernicious, and poorly understood forms of psychoactive substance use, inhalant abuse has been termed the forgotten epidemic. Inhalant users may inhale vapors from a rag soaked with a substance placed over the mouth or nose, a bag into which a substance has been placed, or directly from a container. Commonly abused products include gasoline, glue, paint thinner, nail polish remover, and spray paint. Specific chemicals may also be inhaled, including acetone, benzene, and toluene, although mixtures of chemicals are found in many abused products. Inhalant intoxication presents as a syndrome marked by dizziness, slurred speech, and other signs ...

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