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Drugs & Health Blog

National Inhalants and Poison Prevention Week – March 20-26, 2011

This blog post is archived and is no longer being updated. For the latest content, please visit the main Drugs & Health Blog page.
Sara Bellum

"Why does that guy keep breathing into that stupid paper bag?"

"Did you see that kid back there? Looks kinda’ dazed."

"Oh no, I think she’s passed out. Wait, is she still breathing?"

Ever seen someone at school weaving around like he’s drunk, but you know he’s never taken a drink? Maybe he smelled funny – like gasoline or rubbing alcohol or even air freshener. Or perhaps he talked about seeing things – hallucinations – that you know aren’t there.

What’s really going on?

What you may have observed is someone under the effect of inhalants. These are common household substances that people actually sniff – or “huff”– to get high.

This year, National Inhalants and Poison Prevention Week takes place the week of March 20-26, and aims to shed light on this pressing matter. “Just a single session of repeated inhalations can cause permanent organ damage or death,” according to NIDA Acting Deputy Director Dr. David Shurtleff. “Most inhalants produce a rapid high that resembles alcohol intoxication. Given the wide availability of these substances and the severe health consequences they can produce, inhalant abuse is a serious problem.”

Sara Bellum attended a news conference this week about this topic and its dangers. Erin Davis, mom of a teenager, was there to tell her story of inhalant addiction. For 2 years, she was addicted to inhaling computer keyboard cleaning spray. During that time, she had a seizure from the toxic effects to her brain; she was charged with reckless driving; and she even lost her parenting rights.

As the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Gil Kerlikowske noted, “Just because a product is legal doesn't mean it is safe.” Dr. Shurtleff reminded the audience that “these products are poisons.”

When you use these products, be safe—point them away from your face, not toward it.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


I think that you shouldn't be "sniffing" things around that house, that could make you really sick. It's also not good for your brain.

i belive people should never try to smell these dangerous drugs:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:O

I think it is bad to inhale toxic stuff because it is bad for you and there is a very good chance you could die. It can kill your brain cells

No because i do not have friends that small like that.

Inhaling substances that are not meant to be, well, inhaled is incredibly dangerous! Like in the article, people can suffer seizures and brain damage! Is getting high really worth all the health risks? Is getting high really worth your life?

It's terrible that someone would do that to themselves, it can harm your body, and then people become addicted to doing that, and then they lose there jobs, friends, children, and even their life sometimes.

inhalants are very bad for you

I think one of the problems is that there's just not enough awareness of the dangers and risks of this. Alcohol and other drugs get much more publicity that I think helps educate them. Maybe we need more for this?

Inhalants are bad for you. However, I know not ONE person that uses or has ever used. Do I "Ever seen someone at school" thats on inhalants, no.

This is a good cause. I am glad they took the initiative to start this cause. It is helping many students around the world!
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“Just a single session of repeated inhalations can cause permanent organ damage or death"
Is it true?

why does kids do these dumb drugs any ways dont kill your self