Among rails of neon elasticated underwear and shelves bearing pornographic comic books in London’s Brewer Street is Prowler, the UK’s largest gay lifestyle superstore. Amid the sex toys and condoms, neat rows of small, colourful bottles stand on top of the sales counter. Known as poppers, these liquid-based inhalants are used to create a head rush and boost sexual pleasure, especially during anal sex. But they’re also illegal – a warning has been issued by Government officials on the dangers of using them.
Inhalants are drugs that you sniff to get high, and poppers are made from a drug called amyl nitrite (or amyl nitrite solution). People use it to make their blood vessels expand faster, causing a fast feeling of euphoria and muscle relaxation. They’re a short-acting drug, and the rush only lasts a few seconds or minutes.
Aside from their euphoric effects, poppers also relax the muscles in the anal area, making it easier for people to get fucked. And for this reason, they’re most popular in the gay community.
But the Government is now advising people to stop sniffing them, after receiving reports of hospitalisations and deaths related to their use. It’s also concerned that the drug is being abused in a new way, as some people are “huffing" poppers.
Often, these products are advertised as room “deodorizers,” leather cleaners, or VHS cleaners and sold in plastic bottles that look like energy shot drinks. This is not safe, and the FDA does not endorse or regulate these products. If you get the liquid on your skin, it can cause a chemical burn or irritation and may make you feel weak or sleepy.