Home Drugs Known as a popular party drug: what are poppers?

Known as a popular party drug: what are poppers?

through druginc

Known as a popular party drug: what are poppers?

"Poppers" is the colloquialism of alkyl nitrites. It is a chemical drug often inhaled for euphoric and sexually productive effects.

Originally used for chest pain, alkyl nitrites were then used for recreational use during gay disco in the 1970s.

They are usually sold in small bottles in a liquid form that produces vapor for people to inhale.

Partygoers use it both for sex and for the pleasant high, although some people find it disorienting and feel dizzy and nauseous.

Are poppers safe or dangerous?

Although alkyl nitrites are technically legal in most places, they carry risks and can have extremely dangerous side effects, just like Viagra.

Poppers raise blood pressure, which can lead to strokes and heart attacks. Excessive inhalation increases the risk of a fall in blood pressure and fainting, as well as vomiting and difficulty in breathing.

Studies have also shown that it can cause permanent damage to a person's eyesight, sexual performance and immune system.

Where are they sold? Are they legal or illegal?

Depending on where you are in the world, it may be easy or difficult to get bottles of alkyl nitrite.

United Kingdom

The UK almost banned poppers, but they threw the plan away in a change of government.

However, it cannot be advertised for human consumption.

Poppers can be purchased in clubs, sex stores and online.


Poppers are also legal in the United States and are often purchased online and in porn stores.


It is illegal to sell poppers in Australia as inhalants and in 2018 the government claimed that alkyl nitrites are considered dangerous like heroin and cocaine. The LGBT + community felt this was a step backwards for gay rights.


From 2013, the sale of alkyl nitrate products is prohibited in Canada. The sale can lead to a fine and even imprisonment.

The Netherlands

Poppers were, although actually prohibited, freely available until August 2001 in smart shops and sex shops, among others. It was then also an unregistered drug. In 2001 it was made clear to smart shops and sex shops that free sales are no longer allowed. The Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority monitors the government decision.

In practice, poppers are still sold “under the counter”, although sometimes under different names. It can also be ordered via the internet.

Sources include Drugs info (NL), Jellinek (NL), Pink News (EN)

Related Articles