Inhalant Facts

Learn more about teens and inhalants from your D.A.R.E. Officer or from our Inhalants Fact Sheet (PDF).

DARE BOX Questions

Q: How can you tell if “SOMEONE I KNOW” is Using Inhalants?

A: Sometimes it’s tough to tell. But there are signs you can look for. If your “someone I know” has one or more of the following warning signs, he or she may be using inhalants: slurred speech, drunk/dizzy/dazed appearance, loss of coordination, unusual breath odor, chemical smell on clothing, paint stains on body or face, red eyes, runny nose, nausea and vomiting. If you know someone who is huffing, tell a trusted adult like your parent, teacher, or your DARE Officer. If it’s a medical emergency, don’t forget to call 911 to get help.

Q: How is “huffing” different from smelling?

A: Huffing is when you purposely breathe in the vapors from different chemicals such as gasoline or paint in order to get high. Because we breathe through our noses, we can’t help but smell things around us and that is OK. Even though household products have legal, useful purposes, when they are used as inhalants they are harmful & dangerous. These products are not intended to be inhaled.

Q: How long do you have to use inhalants before they can hurt you?

A: Inhalants can kill you the very first time you use them. The chemicals in inhalants can cause the heart and lungs to stop function after only a few seconds. This is called Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome. Using inhalants is not only very dangerous; it is illegal in some states.

Q: Is playing the “choking game, fainting game, pass out, elevator, hangman, tapout, flatliner, space monkey” game harmful?

A: YES! It is a risky child/teen behavior injuring and killing adolescents. The asphyxiation game is becoming increasingly dangerous as children take it on as a solo adventure. It carries risks of seizures, strokes, memory loss, broken bones, concussions, retinal bruising, severe permanent brain damage and death. Teens perceive there is no danger, that it is “just like fainting”. It involves neck restriction and chest compression mixed with hyperventilation, rendering you oxygen depleted & unconscious. It does not require only choking, there are a variety of methods of oxygen deprivation to achieve a “rush, thrill, or high”. Some kids play out of curiosity & others for an alternative to drug use, all in an attempt to achieve an altered consciousness, to complete a dare or just out of teen curiosity. Please don’t try the game, it only takes the first time to kill you!

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