Sorry gay men and queer party goers, the FDA says you should stop inhaling poppers.
The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning against the use of amyl nitrite, more commonly known as “poppers.” This is due to a growing number of deaths and health concerns related to the product.
“The FDA has observed an increase in reports of deaths and hospitalizations with issues such as severe headaches, dizziness, increase in body temperature, difficulty breathing, extreme drops in blood pressure, blood oxygen issues (methemoglobinemia), and brain death after ingestion or inhalation of nitrite ‘poppers,’” they explained.
FDA is advising consumers not to purchase or use nitrite “poppers” which can result in serious adverse health effects, including death. These products are marketed as nail polish removers but are being ingested or inhaled for recreational use. https://t.co/5Qkd0wleuc pic.twitter.com/9PgY3KTA02
— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) June 24, 2021
This isn’t the first time that health experts have raised concerns around the drug. Poppers are banned in Canada. Then their legality in the UK came into question back in 2016. Plus, the drug is classified as a Schedule 3 drug in Australia, meaning that pharmacies can sell them over the counter across the country. Though, the government there has also considered banning the drug.
As for the U.S., the drug is not meant to be sold as an inhalant. Due to that, it’s often sold as a “disk cleaner” or something to that effect. But let’s be honest, most of the buyers aren’t buying the little bottles to clean old CDs and DVDs….
Despite the constant concern around the drug, there has been some support for it from medical professionals. In 2019, a study from the University of Technology found that poppers were non-addictive. The study analyzed 800 gay and bisexual men aged between 18 and 35. Researchers “found little evidence of typical dependency characteristics, including health, social, legal and financial problems, and no correlation between popper use and mental health or psychological stress.”
That said, there is still some form for concern. When taken in party settings, there’s a risk of causing adverse effects when mixing poppers with other substances such as alcohol, medication like Viagra and Cialis, or other party drugs.
As such, it might be a good idea to head the FDA’s warning of taking “appropriate action” such as being mindful of how you use the drug. But again, this announcement is just a warning and not an outright ban. The choices of whether you use poppers, with what, and how much are still up to you.