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Are inhalants just as illegal as controlled substances?

On Behalf of | Nov 7, 2023 | Criminal Defense, Drug Charges |

There are some chemicals that – while not advertised or sold as drugs – can induce intoxication or euphoria when inhaled. Known as inhalants, these chemicals are available as household or work products, which makes them alarmingly easy to procure.

Inhalants aren’t just dangerous to users’ health but are also illegal to use in Indiana. The penalties for those convicted of consuming inhalants are the same for those dealing with Schedule V controlled substances.

Banned inhalants

According to Indiana law, a person who inhales or ingests the following substances (or products containing the chemicals) to cause intoxication, stupefaction or euphoria commits the offense of inhaling toxic vapors:

  • Acetone
  • Aliphatic nitrate
  • Amyl butrate
  • Benzene
  • Butane
  • Chloroform
  • Chlorinated hydrocarbons
  • Ether
  • Freon
  • Halothane
  • Isobutyl nitrate
  • Methylene chloride
  • N-butyl nitrite
  • Toluene

Any other chemical that releases toxic vapors may also qualify under the law. So, state law also prohibits sniffing things like model glue, aerosol sprays, paint thinner and even nitrous oxide cartridges for whipped cream.

Inhaling toxic vapors is a Class B misdemeanor. This is the same criminal grade for those charged with dealing with Schedule V controlled substances, which are often medical drugs with lower potential for abuse such as analgesics (pain relievers) and antitussive (cough medicine).

Penalties for inhalant abuse

A person convicted of inhaling toxic vapors faces up to 180 days of imprisonment and $1,000 in fines. The offense will reflect as a misdemeanor on the person’s criminal record.

The long and short of it is that using inhalants is a crime, though mere possession of the substances for non-inhalant use isn’t. Abusing these substances can lead to jail time and heavy fines.

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