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Can I Go to Jail for Sniffing Glue?

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

Sniffing glue, paint, gas, or other household products, may seem harmless, but the dangers are very real. In addition to the dangers to one's health, in most states, using household products to get intoxicated is actually illegal. Although inhalants typically do not fall under the federal controlled substances act, most states have laws specifically banning their use.

Not only are inhalants like glue, spray paint, and even canned air, linked to harmful respiratory problems, their use can be fatal, as a result of Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome, or a chemically induced heart arrhythmia.

Penalties for Sniffing Glue

The penalties for sniffing glue, or using other inhalants, will vary from state to state. Even in states where there are no laws specifically prohibiting the use of inhalants, there may be other laws that prohibit public intoxication.

In states like Indiana, the law specifically lists model glue, as well as other chemicals, which, if a person is caught inhaling to get intoxicated, can result in a class B misdemeanor. Under Indiana law, a class B misdemeanor can result in a 6 month jail sentence and $1,000 fine. However, in New York, the penalty is much less harsh, and may only be five days in custody and a $50 fine.

Will the Criminal Charges Stick?

While getting arrested for sniffing glue, or using other inhalants, may seem unlikely, it happens more often that one might expect, particularly around Walmarts, for some reason. Additionally, when an arrest occurs, convictions are likely, since the evidence of guilt will usually be very obvious to a casual observer that the arrestee was using an inhalant.

Inhalant abusers will often be found passed-out, surrounded by their jar or can of their choice chemical. Also, commonly, inhalant abusers will be caught on security cameras at big box stores, using products right off the shelf to get high. And for those that abuse liquid paint, or spray paint, they risk immortalizing themselves, as the "huffer" internet meme seems to have firmly immortalized itself into web-culture.

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