Solvent abuse is often known as glue-sniffing, but also includes abuse of some gases, aerosols, paints etc.

The law:
It is illegal to sell anything containing solvents to under-18s, or anyone acting for them, if they suspect the product is intended for abuse.

How they are taken:
Solvents can be present in many household products.
When abused, they are sniffed or breathed into the lungs.

Effects:
Solvents act as depressants.
Users may appear giggly, dreamy or dizzy, or hallucinate.
The effects last from 15-45 minutes.
Afterwards users may seem drowsy, or suffer from headaches.

Other common signs of solvent abuse include:
Empty cans etc. or plastic bags.
‘Chemical’ smells hanging on the breath or clothes.
Mood swings.
Loss of appetite.
Frequent/persistent headaches, runny nose or sore throats.
Abuse of some glues results in spots around the eyes and mouth.

Risks:
Abuse of gases, glues or aerosols is extremely dangerous, and can kill instantly. Solvent abuse kills one person each week in the UK. There have been cases of first-time users being killed instantly. It is extremely dangerous to mix sniffing solvents with drinking alcohol.
Aerosols/butane squirted directly onto the back of the throat can produce instant death by stopping the heart. If the substances are inhaled from a plastic bag over the head, users face the risk of suffocation.

There is also a risk of becoming unconscious and choking to death on vomit. Abusing solvents can lead to nausea, vomiting, black-outs and fatal heart problems. Long-term abuse can damage the brain, liver and kidney. Some solvents contain poisonous substances. Solvent abuse affects co-ordination and judgment, which can lead to accidents.