Volatile solvents (as a drug)
Similar term(s): inhalants.
Volatile solvents are liquids that vaporize at room temperature.
These organic solvents can be inhaled for psychoactive effects and are present
in many domestic and industrial products such as glue, aerosol, paints,
industrial solvents, lacquer thinners, gasoline, and cleaning fluids.
Some substances are directly toxic to the liver, kidney, or heart, and some
produce peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage usually affecting the feet and legs)
or progressive brain degeneration.
The most frequent users of these substances are young adolescents and street
children. The user typically soaks a rag with inhalant and places it over the
mouth and nose, or puts the inhalant in a paper or plastic bag which is then put
over the face.
Signs of intoxication include agressiveness, lethargy, impaired movement,
euphoria, impaired judgement, dizziness, rapid involuntary movement of the eyes,
blurred vision or double vision (diplopia), slurred speech, tremors, unsteady
gait, overactive reflexes, muscle weakness, stupor, or coma.
Source: GreenFacts, based on WHO
Lexicon of alcohol and drug
Volatile solvents are powerful psychoactive substances. They are inexpensive
and readily available. The effects of volatile solvents are like instantaneous
alcohol intoxication. Regular abuse of these substances is especially common
among teenagers and the poorest members of society.
Source: Centre québécois de lutte aux dépendances
To read about this term in context:
GreenFacts Summary on Psychoactive Drugs Tobacco, Alcohol, and Illicit Substances: