Ethyl Ether

A volatile anesthetic agent subject to abuse by inhalation, ethyl ether was used as an inhalation anesthetic for many years. It has been supplanted by other agents with fewer recovery side effects, such as headache, nausea, and vomiting. It is explosive. Ethyl ether was drunk during the Whiskey Rebellion of the eighteenth century, when heavy taxes were imposed on whiskey. Consumed by this route, ether ''tanned'' (hardened dramatically) the soft palate. When swallowed, profound intoxication follows, but recovery is faster than from alcohol. Alcohol is metabolized at a fixed number of grams per hour, except under extreme conditions; ethyl ether is eliminated by exhalation.

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