Glue huffing is a form of inhalant abuse in which an individual deliberately concentrates and breathes fumes present in glues, resulting in feelings of euphoria, disorientation, and hallucinations. There are many immediate and long-lasting dangers associated with recreational glue huffing. People can experience irreversible brain, heart, and lung damage, hearing loss, nervous system problems, and other effects incurred by inhaling dangerous toxins. Chronic glue huffing can also lead to dependence and addiction, increasing the chances of overdose and death.
People who huff glue might sniff fumes directly from a bottle, or cover his or her mouth with a paper bag filled with the substance. The chemicals present in glue permeate the blood-brain barrier and react with neurotransmitters to produce euphoric sensations. Users immediately begin to feel lightheaded and disoriented, and may experience hallucinations. Within a few minutes, however, individuals suffer health consequences such as headaches, nausea, slurred speech, hearing and vision problems, vomiting, and difficulty controlling muscle movement. As a user continues to come down from his or her high, feelings of fatigue and depression arise.
Other short-term dangers of glue huffing include inflammation and irritation of the nose and throat and the development of a cough or wheeze. A user may pass out after huffing glue, presenting the possibility of suffocation if a bag is still attached to his or her face. The lack of oxygen intake can lead to asphyxiation, and a person could easily choke on his or her vomit if still disoriented or unconscious. Additional environmental dangers exist when a disoriented user attempts to walk, drive, or engage in an activity that is difficult when under the influence of inhalants.
There are many dangers associated with long-term abuse, including damage to the brain, lungs, and heart. Glue huffing kills brain cells and, over time, changes brain's chemistry and function. Many people suffer from permanent damage in the areas of their brain that control motor movement, speech, hearing, and concentration. Liver and kidney damage are possible when large amounts of toxic chemicals are constantly present in the bloodstream, and heart failure is possible due to insufficient amounts of oxygen and healthy nutrients in the blood.
Chemical dependency and addiction present additional immediate dangers. An individual can develop a tolerance to glue chemicals over time, meaning that he or she must huff more and more of the substance in subsequent uses to achieve the same effects. Large doses of glue are highly toxic, and the effects can lead to intense physical suffering and death.