Inhalants are a subgroup of central nervous system (CNS) depressants that includes general anesthetics, solvents, and volatile gases, all of which are substances that exist in a gaseous form at body temperature. With the exception of nitrous oxide, laughing gas, and related aliphatic nitrates, all inhalants—including gasoline, paint thinner, glue, hairspray, and lighter fluid—are hydrocarbons. Collective misuse of these is referred to as volatile substance abuse (VSA). Use by Canadian students ranges from 2.2 percent in Manitoba to 8.7 percent in Ontario, while in the United States lifetime use among students ranged from 6.5 percent to 10.8 percent. However, it is ever a greater health issue in developing nations, particularly among street-engaged youth and indigenous populations that have been economically and social oppressed. While inhalants ...

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