Crawley Police have seized a batch of poppers thinking — incorrectly — that they were covered by the new blanket ban on legal highs. But what exactly are poppers? For the benefit of Crawley police officers and others, The Independent offers this guide.
Poppers is a common slang term for a range of chemical psychoactive drugs called alkyl nitrites, and in particular, the inhalant drug amyl nitrite. The most common type of poppers inhalant is amyl nitrite. It is often confused with amyl nitrate, which is, in fact, a different chemical with a similar name, often misspelled as amil nitrate. Poppers are also known as liquid gold, butyl nitrite, heart medicine, and room deodorizer. The term poppers first began being used for these drugs in the s, when amyl nitrite, which was then used as a heart medicine, was sold in capsules that were cracked, or "popped," to release the chemical.
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Past rails of neon elasticated underwear and shelves bearing pornographic comic books, neat rows of small, colourful bottles stand on top of the sales counter. With names including Buzz, Rush, Deep and Hard On, these are poppers — alkyl nitrites in liquid form that cause a head-rush when inhaled and were banned by the Government this week. From 1 April, all poppers will be banned in the UK. A recent survey found the use of poppers to be 25 times more common among gay than straight men. Some believe the association of poppers with gay culture is what has now led to the ban. The street name by which they are now known came from the packaging of this treatment. When nitro-glycerine tablets replaced amyl nitrite as the preferred treatment for angina in the early s, demand for the stimulant rapidly declined.
To be fair, others say — not so much. But what does the science tell us about poppers? Have there been studies to examine their safety? And for that matter, do people still use them? Given interest in the topic, Gay Pop Buzz set out to find the answers. Related: Weed and sex: Pros and Cons revealed. When you peel away the slang, poppers are really a broad based term used to describe a chemical class known as alkyl nitrites.