Inhalants had a short period of fame in the 1990’s. As an increasing amount of teenagers and young people were abusing inhalants, more media was talking about how dangerous household chemicals and chemicals bought at the store were becoming. Inhalant addiction is not a thing of the past. Many people today are still struggling with an addiction to inhalants, but their stories are lost in the sea of a worldwide focus on the opioid epidemic. In passing, moments like a woman addicted to inhaling Dust Off featured on the popular TV show Intervention brought the addiction to the spotlight. Unfortunately, such moments of making a spectacle out of a life threatening addiction de-legitimizes the addiction in the public eye, creating a deeper addiction and a deeper stigma around the abuse of inhalants. However, inhalant abuse is still a very real and very dangerous problems. Many areas around the country are seeing another surge in inhalant abuse as people who are addicted to expensive drugs are looking for refuge in less expensive options.

Inhalants can include any kind of chemical which creates a high. People use household cleaning products, paint, harmful chemicals, and many other chemical products to get high. One of the most popular is “canned air” or spray used for cleaning. Sold for cleaning small crevices, the cans are available for purchase in many kinds of stores with a small nozzle attached. The only warning label on the can includes a warning for how cold the can will become once it is shaken up and activated. At full force, the can could become so cold as to burn the hand. People who are addicted to inhalant abuse using these products often experience frostbite, burning their mouths, destroying their teeth, and causing problems to the muscles and bones of their jaw. The “air” in canned air is a highly toxic chemical called 1,1-difluoroethane. Users look to taking “hits” off of these cans of cleaner because the toxic chemicals is so strong it creates sensations of euphoria and intoxication much more quickly than any other substance.

Unfortunately, like any addiction, users can and will develop a tolerance. Some reports of overdose and arrest due to inhalant abuse have revealed that people can use dozens of cans a day, sometimes more. Overdose frequently occurs. Inhalants are stimulant drugs, meaning they speed up the brain and the central nervous system which communicates with key organs like the heart. The most common cause of overdose is cardiac arrhythmia where the heart beats too quickly and too irregularly, then shuts down.


You don’t have to let inhalant addiction continue to control your life. There is refuge in recovery. At Design For Change, we are offering clients a refuge from addiction so that they can find the hope and freedom recovery has to offer. We’re changing lives, one step at a time, through proven clinical methods, twelve step integration, and innovative programs for healing. Call us today for information on our treatment programs for men and women: (877) 267-3646.

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