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The tri-chlorine-methan (CHCl3), known mainly by the name of chloroform, was synthesized for the first time in 1831 and even then its suppressing effect over the psyche was discovered. The sweet vapors of this heavy and very mobile liquid, very much like ether, cause intoxication, and in greater doses – loss of consciousness. It has never reached the popularity of the ether as an opiate and now practically it is not used for this purpose. The chloroform was suggested at the end of the 19th century as a mean for reliving the pains of a mother trying to give birth to her child. This was very retorted very hostile from the clergy, who sought support in the Bible. In Genesis 3:16 it is written that the woman has to suffer while she gives birth to her children. Dr. James Simpson on the other hand also turned to the Bible to answer the challenge. He said that even God Himself used anaesthetic – He put the man into deep sleep and then he took one of his ribs (Genesis 2:21). This “scientific” argument made its point and it was irrefutable. Finally Queen Victoria, before her eighth child was born, insisted on Dr. Simpson putting her to sleep with the chloroform, for which he received a title of nobility. The chloroform is very dangerous as a mean for narcosis and exultation and that’s why it is almost not used nowadays. It is used for medical purposes only in some tropical countries, because its temperature of boiling is much higher than the one of the ether.
When people talk about “breathing of glue”, they actually mean the inhaling of vapors of organic solvents, which can be found in the ingredients of the glues. This large group of volatile organic substances includes various hydrocarbons, chlorine derivatives, ketons and esters. It is good to mention the inhaling of gasoline vapors here. To understand to what degree this habit has spread it is enough to know that even the Australian aborigines visit distant airports in the desert to inhale these vapors.
The chronic usage of these, rather different substances, has relatively different long-term effect over the body, but, because of the fact that, when the vapors are breathed in they cause a similar state of intoxication, it is commonly accepted that they are studied as one. The effect from the inhaling of organic volatile substances can be identified most closely with the one of alcohol. The typical symptoms include loss of coordination, anxiety, confusion and disorientation, sometimes resulting in delirium. Higher doses may lead to comma, which may last for several hours or a couple of days. Of course many people, who like to inhale solvents, stop before any serious unpleasant effects appear, very much like most liquor-drinkers stop before falling under the table. The systematic repeating of the intoxication leads to hallucinations and dizziness. Very often these organic solvents are referred to as “LSD for the poor”.
The chronic usage of organic solvents results in muscle weakness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, stomachaches and loss of weight. Very often there may also be different neurological complications such as neuritis, paralysis of the face nerves, ataxia, tremor and itching. The liver, the kidneys and the heart are most often damaged and apart from this many of these substances lead to cancer. When children, who can hardly estimate their danger, use them, there may be fatal consequences. The most dangerous is the inhaling of the vapors from a closed volume (polyethylene envelope, bag, etc.) in the whole head is put.