Poppers 101: What You Should Know

Sam More

Snap, crackle, pop! Chances are you’ve heard of (or done, no judgment at JJ) Poppers. They’ve been around for awhile and today we’ll be giving you the rundown on the drug and everything you need to know.

What are Poppers?

Poppers are a liquid drug that give the user an instant high when inhaled. Usually, the user will feel euphoric effects such as a temporary head rush, warm sensations and loosening of certain muscles. Other names for poppers include amyl nitrate, butyl nitrate and liquid gold. They usually come in small bottle form (usually 10 to 40ml). Some popular brand names include Jungle Juice, Quick Silver, Super RUSH Nail Polish Remover and Extreme Formula. The drug is seen a sex enhancer and is popular in the gay community, usually taken when participating in anal sex as it relaxes the muscles around the anus. Forbes said the drug can help “open the tunnel of love so to speak”. Eloquently put, Forbes.

The history of Poppers

Poppers became popular in the gay scene in the early 1970’s. Predominatly used by gay males in bars, raves and bathhouses, the drug was said to enhance sexual pleasure. In the early 70’s, alot of gay men were still feeling shameful of their identities and when Poppers were introduced, it gave them an escape from reality. David Wohlsifer, a professional psychotherapist and sex therapist said “You walk into this club hating yourself for who you are, hating yourself for what you want to do. And then there’s this magic pill that makes you, for a few minutes, feel euphoric; it makes you feel self-worth instead of shame. People go for it.” Now Poppers are not pills, however they give the same sensations that said pills do such as feelings of extreme euphoria. 

As far as legality goes, it depends where you are in the world. In 2020 in Australia, Poppers were legalized and can be purchased from pharmacies. In France, between the years of 2000 and 2010, poppers quickly rose in popularity becoming the second most used drug with young adults and teenagers, only second to cannabis. In the UK, poppers are sold in a variety of places such as clubs, bars, sex shops and on the internet. However, it is illegal to sell poppers marked for “human consumption”. A lot of times, in countries where Poppers are not legalized, they are sold as leather cleaner, nail polish remover or room odorisor. Here in Canada, Health Canada has banned all distribution as well as sales of poppers since 2013.

Side Effects of Poppers

Like any recreational drug, it is important to know the effects it can possibly have on you. Poppers are vasodilators which means they dilate the blood vessels. Because of this, blood pressure can drop significantly when taking the drug, leading to lightheadedness which can result in fainting. Other side effects include a racing heart, headaches, and respiratory allergic reactions. In June of this year, the FDA released a statement advising against the use of poppers saying the “FDA advises consumers not to purchase or use nitrite “poppers”. Products can result in serious adverse health effects, including death, when ingested or inhaled”.

Take Away

Poppers have been around since the early 70’s and even with laws banning them, it’s pretty clear they will still be used and accessed worldwide. Whether it be for sexual or partying purposes, you’re sure to catch a twink in your peripheral vision inhaling a suspicious substance while a 2011 Lady Gaga hit blares next time you’re at the gay bar. It is important to know the risks of anything you are doing, recreational drugs included and we hope you learned those through this article! Side note: Mary Poppers would be an iconic drag name.

Pictured above: LGBT icon Charli XCX holding poppers, yelling "gay rights!"


  • Mason Day said:

    We love you poppers

    November 16, 2021

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