Poppers What Are They?
Poppers is a slang term given to the chemical class called alkyl nitrites that are inhaled for recreational purposes, especially as an aphrodisiac. Today poppers are mainly sold in cap vials.
Most widely sold concentrated products include the original compound amyl nitrite (isoamyl nitrite, isopentyl nitrite), cyclohexyl nitrite, isobutyl nitrite (2-methylpropyl nitrite), and isopropyl nitrite (2-propyl nitrite). Isopropyl nitrite became popular due to a ban on isobutyl nitrite in the EU in 2007. More rarely sold is the compound butyl nitrite.
Part of the club culture from the 1970s disco scene to the 1980s, and the 1990s rave scene made their use popular.
Inhaling nitrites relaxes smooth muscles throughout the body Smooth muscle surrounds the body’s blood vessels and when relaxed causes these vessels to dilate resulting in an immediate decrease in blood pressure. Alkyl nitrites are often used as a club drug or to enhance a sexual experience.
Poppers And Sex
User surveys are hard to come by, but a 1988 study found that 69% of men who had sex with men in the Baltimore/Washington DC area reported they had used poppers, with 21% having done so in the prior year. The survey also found that 11% of recreational drug users in the area reported using poppers, increasing to 22% among “heavy abusers,” with an average age of first use of 25.6 years old. Both survey groups used poppers to “get high,” but the men who had sex with men were more likely to use them during sex. It was reported that this group reduced usage following the AIDS epidemic, while the drug-users had not. A 1987 study commissioned by the US Senate and conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services found that less than 3% of the overall population had ever used poppers.
Use by minors is historically minimal due, in part, to the ban on sales to minors by major manufacturers for public relations reasons and because some jurisdictions regulate sales to minors by statute. A paper published in 2005 examined use of poppers self-reported by adolescents aged 12–17 in the (American) 2000 and 2001 National Household Surveys on Drug Abuse. In all, 1.5% of the respondents in this age group reported having used poppers. This figure rose to 1.8% in those over 14. Living in nonmetropolitan areas, having used mental health services in the past year (for purposes unconnected with substance use treatment), the presence of delinquent behaviours, past year alcohol and drug abuse and dependence, and multi-drug use were all associated with reporting the use of poppers.
Poppers are usually sold in small glass bottles, they are often used as nail polish remover, leather cleaner, or VCR head cleaner by the consumer. Using them in any way other than the manufacturer’s suggested way is illegal in most countries.
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