(fast drying glues and adhesives, assorted paint and petroleum products, lighter fluid, dry
cleaning fluids, assorted aerosol sprays, surgical spirit, cleaners etc.)
Solvent abuse involves inhaling the fumes from domestic and industrial products creating a
Traditionally referred to as ‘glue sniffing’, the vast majority of solvent abusers are between the
ages of 11-16 and usually male. The most common method of inhaling solvents is by inhaling
them from a plastic bag which is placed over the face.
A feeling of strong intoxication kicks in almost immediately with some users experiencing
hallucinations.The effects are short lived, resulting in the prospect of repeated abuse.
Solvent abuse can result in a dazed appearance, unsteadiness, slurred speech and
unpredictable behaviour. There is a real risk of vomiting, choking and possibly
unconsciousness. At the very least, expect a king size head ache, and a less than
handsome red rash around the mouth.
Under the influence of solvents, users can undertake dangerous and reckless acts and be at
increased risk from accidents. Long term abuse can lead to a permanent ‘sniffer’s rash’,
conjunctivitis, liver, heart and kidney damage and in extreme cases, brain damage. Children
are at the greatest risk and some have died after trying solvents for the first time
There is no evidence of physical dependence, although psychological dependence can develop.
Solvent abuse accounts for a death rate of over 70 people a year, the vast majority being under 20 years old.