Inhalants are breathable chemical vapors that produce psychoactive (mind-altering) effects. While we are commonly exposed to volatile solvents and other inhalants in the home and workplace, most of us are unaware that these substances can be inhaled as drugs. This is probably because most inhalants were not designed to be used that way and because normal use results in low inhaled concentration.
Inhalants are often called "Gateway Drugs" because they lead to use of other drugs, such as marijuana and methamphetamines. Sometimes the chemical itself becomes the drug of choice and is abused into adulthood. Healthcare professionals and the public generally lack awareness of the toxic effects of inhalants and do not consider that household products could be addicting.