Cite this article

NIDA. (2005, January 1). NIDA Community Drug Alert Bulletin - Inhalants. Retrieved from https://archives.drugabuse.gov/publications/nida-community-drug-alert-bulletin-inhalants

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How Are Inhalants Abused?

Inhalants can be breathed in through the nose or the mouth in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Sniffing or "snorting" fumes from containers
  • Spraying aerosols directly into the nose or mouth
  • "Bagging," which involves sniffing or inhaling fumes from substances sprayed or deposited inside a plastic or paper bag
  • "Huffing" from an inhalant-soaked rag stuffed in the mouth
  • Inhaling from balloons filled with nitrous oxide

Because intoxication lasts only a few minutes, abusers frequently try to prolong the high by continuing to inhale repeatedly over the course of several hours, a very dangerous practice.

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