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National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. (2023) Volatile inhalants. Sydney: National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW Sydney.

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Volatile inhalant (also volatile solvent) misuse covers the inhalation of substances that vaporise at room temperature for the purpose of intoxication or sexual experience enhancement.

There are various types of inhalants that have different effects. They may be broadly categorised as: 

  • Gas fuels (cigarette lighter fluid, gas bottles) 
  • Petroleum 
  • Aerosol propellants (air fresheners, deodorant spray)
  • Adhesives and paints (glue, spray paints)
  • Volatile anaesthetics (nitrous oxide)
  • Nitrites (amyl nitrite)  

Inhalants are breathed in through the nose or mouth, typically by being placed in or on another object before being inhaled. 

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Report
Drug Type
Inhalents and solvents
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
January 2023
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW Sydney
Corporate Creators
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre
Place of Publication
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