Amyl & Butyl Nitrites

Commonly known as "Poppers"

What are Poppers?

Poppers are inhalants- that is, they are consumed by inhaling Nitrite vapors. In the past, Amyl and Butyl nitrites were the most popular, but due to legal restrictions many are switching to other alkyl nitrites, such as Isopropyl Nitrite.

Poppers Pop!

Poppers get their name from the sound that makes when you open them- pop!

Examples of Poppers

What are poppers used for?

Legal uses

Poppers can be used medically in some situations. Their original purpose was to treat Angina Pectoris, a clinical term for chronic chest pain.

Alkyl nitrites are also sometimes used as an antidote to cyanide poisoning, helping the body create agents to neutralize the cyanide.


Alkyl nitrites are also occasionally used as cleaning agents, or as very small additives to perfume.

Illegal Usage

Poppers are far more commonly used illegally. Poppers are inhalant drugs- after opening the bottle, the vapors from the liquid contained within are inhaled through the nostril.


But why use poppers?


Poppers give a strong, quick head rush, inspiring feelings of lightheadedness and intensifying sensory experiences. This is often used to enhance club or sexual experiences.


Many people have not even heard of poppers, let alone done them- so where are they so widely used? Ryder knows the answer.


Poppers are most commonly used in the LGBT community. A recent study showed that in some areas, almost 15% of male gays used poppers before. Why are poppers so much more popular in the LGBT community? Think back to the effects of poppers. Poppers can relax smooth muscles, and what is a relevant smooth? Think about it for a second. Poppers are particularly prevalent in this community because while other party drugs popular in the LGBT scene eventually were cracked down on, poppers are relatively easier on the body and were not cracked down on as hard.


Poppers are illegal in the US when sold for drug purposes, but are often sold as other products to get around this. This is the same case as the UK.

Potential Side Effects

Some studies are showing that poppers can contribute to vision loss- a recent UK study showed that poppers are highly linked to a new wave of sudden vision loss in UK patients. This could be correlated with the increased switch to other nitrites, however.


Poppers can cause blood pressure to drop to dangerous levels. Poppers can also damage red blood cells and other organs. Poppers can even cause you to pass out, and die through choking on your own vomit.


While poppers are often marketed as "harmless," the truth is they are far from it. Even the liquid itself is highly toxic, and can kill you or damage your skin if you ingest or spill it.


Rarely, "Sudden Sniffing Death syndrome" has been reported with popper use, causing people to unexpectedly die due to heart irregularity.

By Liam Earley and Ryder Boothroyd

Support Networks?

Aside from general support networks, because poppers are widely considered to be less harmful and less addictive than most drugs, there are no specific Nitrite support networks.