Poppers is the street term for various alkyl nitrites taken for recreational purposes through direct inhalation, particularly amyl nitrite, butyl nitrite, isopropyl nitrite and isobutyl nitrite. Amyl nitrite has a long history of safe medical use in treating angina, as well as an antidote to cyanide poisoning. Amyl nitrite and several other alkyl nitrites which are used in over-the-counter products, such as air fresheners and video head cleaners, are often inhaled with the goal of enhancing sexual pleasure. These products have also been part of the club culture from the 1970s disco scene to the 1980s and 1990s rave scene.
BASIC FACTS ABOUT POPPERS
1) Poppers is the term used for alkyl nitrite (in particular, butyl nitrite and isobutyl nitrite) when it is inhaled as a recreational drug.
2) The term poppers was coined because when amyl nitrite first became available for medical use it was packaged in small glass capsules (pearl) with a melted glass stem which was broken off - popped - in order to release the contents.
3) It is illegal to sell poppers for recreational use in the United States (since 1991), although it is legal to buy, possess and use poppers recreationally. There are currently no such restrictions on the sale of poppers in any non-US jurisdiction.
4) Poppers are used recreationally because of their vasodilatory effect on the human body. Vasodilation means that blood vessels dilate which is said to improve anal sex and heighten male orgasm. The aroma of buytl or isobutyl nitrite is also said to have aphrodisiac properties.
5) Poppers advertising suggests that the use of poppers is largely the activity of sexually active gay men, although there are reports of the use of poppers also by women and straight men.
6) The use of poppers as a recreational drug is a modern phenomenum which grew commerecially during the late sixties and seventies until by 1977 it was said (Time Magazine) to be a $50 million a year business.
7) The poppers business took a downturn in the eighties and early nineties due to AIDS, anti-poppers legislation, and perhaps due to general exhaustion.
8) In 1981, Hank Wilson formed the Committee to Monitor Poppers which sought to find evidence against the use of poppers as a recreational drug. In that same year, the FDA issue a report claiming that there was no demostrable hazard and no reason to ban the use of poppers. The debate continued for ten years until poppers were finally banned in 1991.
9) The use of poppers in the past five years has begun to increase once again as poppers have become widely available on the Internet. Since 1991, a huge poppers black market has opened up.
10) Joseph Miller's company Rushbrands, is the largest producer of poppers in the United States.
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