What are poppers?
Poppers are a kind of ‘legal high’, sold as room aromas. It’s actually illegal in the UK to advertise them for their intended use. The manufacturers’ instructions on poppers like Liquid Gold Poppers say that you should open the bottle and allow the aroma to develop. Though the guidelines explicitly warn users not to inhale straight from the bottle, this is how many people use them.
Poppers such as Liquid Gold Poppers sold in the UK contain isopropyl nitrate as the active ingredient. They are sold online, in some head shops, sex shops and tobacconists, starting at around £3.50 a bottle.
What do they do?
Poppers increase blood flow and heart rate, while decreasing blood pressure. This creates a dizzying head-rush, and often cause the user to feel warm or experience a flushed face. They also cause smooth muscle tissues to relax. Common side-effects of popper use include headaches and feeling dizzy or faint.
Because they affect blood pressure, it is advised that they are not used by people who have heart or blood pressure problems, or at the same time as Viagra.
Are they dangerous?
There is a small risk of death due to hardcore poppers use, which can cause the body to produce too much of a particular type of haemoglobin but this is extremely rare. They are not physically addictive, and according to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, the misuse of poppers “is not seen to be capable of having harmful effects sufficient to cause a social problem”.