Pharmacology of Inhalants

  • Eric B. Evans


The recreational use of gaseous and volatile substances is not a new phenomenon. In early western civilization Greeks inhaled gases for religious purposes (Brecher, 1972). The synthesis of nitrous oxide in 1776 by Priestly could be marked as the beginning of the modern era of inhalant abuse. In fact, its abuse preceded the announcement of a legitimate medical use as an anesthetic 20 years later by Priestly and Davy (Nagle, 1968). The misuse of nitrous oxide and the other early anesthetic agents, chloroform and ether (“ether frolics”), was fashionable in the 19th century. Not surprisingly, the modern, nonflammable, inhalational anesthetic halothane has been abused by medical personnel, and there have been reports of deaths (Spencer, Raasch, & Trefny, 1976).


Ketone Methyl Isopropyl Acetate Inhalant Abuse Acetate Amyl Isobutyl Nitrite 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric B. Evans
    • 1
  1. 1.National Starch and Chemical CompanyBridgewaterUSA

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