What Are Poppers?

Poppers Drug


  • Amyl Nitrite
  • Butyl Nitrite
  • Isobutyl Nitrite
  • Rush
  • Stud
  • Locker Room
  • Liquid Gold Drug
  • TNT

Poppers is a popular slang name for a range of chemically psychoactive drugs termed alkyl nitrites, and in particular, the inhalant drug amyl nitrite.

Originally amyl nitrites were used. Poppers are usually sold in small bottles, in the form of liquids that produce a vapour that can be inhaled.

How do people take poppers?

Poppers are usually inhaled straight from the bottle by capping the hand around the bottle or from an absorbent material such as a cloth or a sleeve. One of the most common chemicals in the poppers group is Amyl Nitrite and was initially used in the treatment for angina (a heart condition).

Are Poppers Legal?

As of 2002, the newest popper was cyclohexyl nitrite, commonly sold in drug paraphernalia or “head” shops and adult bookstores as a head cleaner for VCRs. Cyclohexyl is chemically similar to amyl nitrite and butyl nitrite and produces the same effect when inhaled.

It may surprise you to know that the use of Poppers is not covered under the ‘Governments’ legal high‘ Psychoactive Substances Act.  They have been used recreationally since the 1970s, and they’re labelled for other uses because it is illegal to advertise them as for human consumption.   They are commonly sold in little brown bottles and are highly flammable. Poppers have a very distinctive and strong solvent smell.

What do poppers do?

These chemicals are what is called potent vasodilators; in other words, the popper effect is that it expands the blood vessels, which has the immediate impact of lowering the blood pressure. When sniffing poppers, you will experience a head rush which comes on almost immediately after sniffing them and can last a couple of minutes. This rush or high is caused by the body’s blood vessels dilating (opening) and blood rushing to the brain.

Poppers are often used during sex as they are believed to enhance orgasm and have been reported to increase the size of a man’s erection for a few minutes after sniffing the drug. But for some men, it’s the opposite, and they have trouble getting an erection after sniffing them.

Are poppers bad for you?

Once the initial rush is over; however, you will experience; headaches which if you have used heavily can last a few days. Other reported side effects include hot flushes rashes, in particular around the nose and lips, dizziness, nausea, and damage to the cheeks and face due to chemical burns from the poppers. These side effects will disappear after use of the drug stops although recovery may take a few days after heavy use. Be warned if you spill poppers on your skin or to drink them will burn you severely.

Ongoing abuse of amyl nitrate can also cause long-term harm, including brain damage, heart disease, liver damage, and kidney failure. Permanent hearing loss; damage to bone marrow, impacting blood and immune system health; permanently slurred speech; and chronic physical tremors.

A new study published online indicates that the chemical composition of the legal high ‘poppers’ is linked to retinal damage at the back of the eye, this report was produced by the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

The findings prompt the researchers to call for a reassessment of the harms associated with these recreational drugs.

Poppers are highly flammable so keep them away from any naked flames such as cigarettes, joints, fires, matches, lighters, and candles etc. It is important to note too that you must try to avoid continually inhaling or mixing with other drugs, in particular alcohol. Mixing with alcohol will cause tremendous stress to the body’s vital organs.

It’s useful to know also that if you have low blood pressure, heart trouble or have had a stroke do not use poppers – they will make your condition severely worse and could kill you.

Is it dangerous to mix with other drugs?

Yes, any time you mix drugs together, you take on new risks. Things that affect your risk include the type of drug, the strength and how much you take.

Mixing poppers with alcohol can increase the risk of reducing the oxygen supply to vital organs, unconsciousness and death.

Mixing poppers with Viagra or other erectile dysfunction medication is dangerous as they all affect blood pressure.

Poppers are commonly used in conjunction with other illicit drugs, including cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamines, and hallucinogens, to enhance the high. These and other so-called club drugs can lead to psychiatric problems and physiological conditions such as overheating, dehydration, and heart strain.

Can you get addicted?

There’s no evidence to suggest that poppers are physically or psychologically addictive.

Poppers are extremely dangerous and can lead to sudden death at any time, so it is vital to get medical help detoxing from these drugs.

There are no withdrawal symptoms for poppers commonly associated with other inhalants. Since amyl nitrite is not addictive, no suggested treatment or rehabilitation regimen is specific to the drug. However, since poppers are often used in combination with other drugs, abusers are likely to benefit from drug dependency treatment programs, including counselling.

If you think you or your friend has a problem or is abusing poppers, contact Rehab Guide today to inquire about help and advice on 02072052845.





Author 'John


Trained in addictionology in the Johnson Model, and specializing in substance abuse for individual and couple counselling. John's personal experience has given him a wealth of insights, which he integrates into practice. His extensive training has allowed him to gain expertise in individual and group counselling, concurrent disorders, case management, executing treatment plans and relapse prevention. He started this free helpline as a result of a life change and to help others get sober and live a life free from drugs and alcohol. John covers a variety of topics relating to addiction and recovery in his articles.


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