The Australian government is planning to outlaw amyl nitrite next month, after the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) backed a proposal to ban the popular sex drug.
Even though poppers (as the popular inhalant is affectionately called in the LGBTQI and outdoor party scenes) aren’t harmful when ingested in moderation by people without pre-existing medical conditions, the new proposal seeks to place the non-addictive drug onto Schedule 9 of the Poisons Standard – the same category as heroin and cocaine.
The recreational inhalant has two key effects on those who ingest it: It delivers a short-lived euphoric head-rush, and it relaxes smooth muscles in the throat and anus.
Selling amyl nitrite for recreational us is already illegal in Australia, but many adult stores keep the drug behind the counter, labelling it “video head cleaner”, “leather cleaner”, “room odorisor” or “nail polish remover” and only selling to those who specifically request it.
Short-term negative side effects of amyl nitrite use can include headaches, dizziness, and erectile dysfunction. No known serious long-term side effects occur when the drug is used in moderation by healthy people.
Those with pre-existing medical conditions like glaucoma, heart or circulation issues, or low blood pressure are advised against using the drug. Amyl nitrite should not be taken in conjunction with prescription drugs like Viagra, as rapid drop in blood pressure which can trigger a stroke may result.
Maculopathy (visual impairment) has been experienced by some European users, but this has been attributed to increased use of isopropyl nitrite at UK music festivals and clubs after the British government outlawed the use of isobutyl nitrite in 2007.
Other types of poppers are still available for sale in the UK, after a 2016 push to ban all alkyl nitrites failed.
The TGA will decide next month whether to make the ban official. You can submit an online response to the proposal until the 11th of October.