Drugs Information, what you really should know about, drugs facts on and facts about amyl nitrate & poppers

A Guide for worried parents, teenagers who are using drugs or thinking about using drugs and anyone who wants to know more about the subject.

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Poppers are a gold coloured liquid. The chemical name is amyl or butyl nitrate. Comes in a bottle or in small glass 'vials' which are popped open. .Historically is has been used to treat angina, mainly used today to treat emergency cases.
Poppers are commonly sold in clubs, joke and sex shops. They are often used to heighten sexual arousal. The drug is popular amongst the gay community, but is also used by young people at clubs and raves.; the perception of time is also altered.

Common street names:
poppers, liquid gold, tnt, rush, stud, stag, ram, snappers, bananas, hi-tech, rave, Amyl nitrate, Butyl nitrate, bullet, locker room

How they are taken:
The vapours are inhaled through the nose and/or mouth, the nose most commonly


The effects are immediate, within 30-40 seconds, but last only a few minutes. Face flushes, head and neck perspire. Blood pressure is reduced and heart rate accelerates which produces a rushing sensation. Some people experience headaches and nausea; effectslast from 30 sec. to 5 mins.

The reduction in blood pressure can result in loss of balance and fainting, especially if people are involved in physical activity like dancing. The likelihood of accidents is increased and people with heart or blood pressure are more at risk. Poppers increase pressure within the eyeball and should not be used by anyone with glaucoma. Regular use can also lead to problems around the nose and mouth. Swallowing a large quantity can lead to unconsciousness. Some deaths have occurred this way. Long term use can lead to nausea, dizziness, delirium and impaired respiration.

Physical effects:
Headache flushing of the face decreased in blood pressure increase pulse
dizziness relaxation of involuntary muscles especially the blood vessel walls and the anal sphincter.
Psychological effects:
Light headed dizzy slowed perception of time.
Overdose symptoms:
Nausea vomiting decreased blood pressure and respiration fainting
coldness of the skin Possible circulatory collapse and death.

In the UK amyl nitrates are medicines controlled under the medicines act. They are available only on medical prescription and sale or supply under any other circumstances is therefore illegal.

For information about other drugs, return to Drug Information Page.