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Poppers banmongers

Have you noticed anything wrong with poppers recently? A couple of years ago, all brands in the UK announced a 'new' formulation; with impaired, short-lasting effects and a nasty sharp smell. 'Real' amyl nitrite (NOT amyl nitrAte, different chemical altogether*) poppers were banned from non-prescription sale in 1996. The second-best type, isobutyl nitrite was banned in 2008. All 'poppers' sold in the UK are now isopropyl nitrite, the nasty sharp stuff.

You may well ask why, considering that the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs considers poppers to cause very little harm, and they continue to be perscribed to treat heart conditions such as angina. I think I've found out why...

An organisation called "Positively Healthy UK" proudly proclaims on their website:

Popperstoppers was originally a campaign in the UK led by HIV positive gay men to achieve the ban on the retail sale of poppers and was managed and directed by Cass Mann, CEO of Positively Healthy (POSH). It is now incorporated into the main stream work of POSH, following approval and support for this work from the Secretary of State for the Department of Health.

POSH has worked in close collaboration with The Royal Pharmaceutical Society in the successful prosecution in 1996 at Crown Court, in front of a judge, of a retail outlet selling the poppers derivative amyl nitrite. This resulted in the UK-wide ban of amyl nitrite and its disappearance from sale

We also worked in tandem with The Department of Health's Medicines Control Agency from 1996 until 2001 to secure a prosecution of manufacturers of the remaining two poppers derivatives, butyl and n-isobutyl nitrites. A prosecution was eventually brought in March 2001 at Crown Court, before a judge and jury, against two manufacturers, but this proved unsuccessful.

'WHY?', you ask?

There have also been suggestions that KS might be linked to the recreational drug poppers (nitrite inhalants). KS is an AIDS-defining symptom largely restricted to gay and bisexual men, the most frequent users of poppers. A number of studies found that gay and bisexual men who have used poppers are much more likely to have developed KS as an AIDS-defining illness than non-users, but other studies have shown no clear relationship. Cases of KS have been reported in HIV-negative gay and bisexual men who were heavy users of poppers. However, more than a dozen HIV-negative cases have also been reported in gay and bisexual men who never used poppers.
[FNS: Link]

('KS' being Kaposi's sarcoma, a cancer normally affecting the skin, strongly associated with AIDS.)

So, you and me are not permitted to buy amyl (or isobutyl) nitrite because one study showed a possibility of an increased risk of developing KS if you already have AIDS.

Now I agree with informing people about the potential risks of drugs, but banning a fairly safe and popular drug because one study shows a possible correlation between the use of it and a complication of a specific disease goes a bit far. It's like banning wearing black clothes altogether, because if you were to walk on an unlit road at night wearing black you are at increased risk of being ran over.

* Amyl Nitrate is a completely different chemical to Amyl Nitrite, does not have the same effects on humans and is used as a diesel additive, amongst other things.

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Comments (9) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Couldn’t agree more. The question being, then, where can non isopropyl nitrites can be found alternatively, i.e. the old good poppers that were inspiring and not irritating. Do you know any other source that still provides them? Don’t know much about the substances involved, but can definitely tell the difference in its effect. Please let me know if you know any such alternative providers. Thank you for such a spot on post. This is just another example of Nanny State in action. Cheers J.

  2. wow wot a really good bit of info. this guy is spot on. i noticed the difference a few years ago, which would tie in with 2007. my b/f and i enjoy a very active sex life but he finds it difficult to receive unless poppers are involved. the new stuff is crap, lasts seconds and doesn’t relax the muscles enough. our sex life is suffering, its still good but could be better. they know its used in gay sex, not just cause its fun but also because it helps. it seems rather strange, i’m being deprived a full sex life because of stupid idiotic groups of well doers who don’t have the full facts and should just get off there high horse and get back in the real world. we are all adults and have choices. i don’t think ya can get amyl nitrite anywhere any more but a group called jungle juice have a site where there are links to Canadian companies who sell isobutyl nitrite. this is not isopropyl nitrite (the dirty shit we have to put up with in the uk) go jungle juice go. ok so its not amyl but at least its butyl n not propyl. by the way wikepedia lists isopropyl as a jet engine starter fluid and does not link it in any way to poppers, doesn’t that tell ya summit. it can’t be good we know that but wot sort of crap are they making us breath in. JUNGLE JUICE is the future don’t buy the crap off the market. check the active ingredients, do you really wanna sniff starter fluid if so then grab a can o gas n go for ya life

  3. To be fair Positively Healthy exclusively dealt with issues facing positive gay man and pushed for a holistic healthy approach to HIV and AIDS. Therefore any recreational drugs was against its mission statement and while there was a possibility that poppers could elevate the risk of cancer to HIV and AIDS patients they felt it was correct to push for their ban. Of course there are other more harmful legal drugs around such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine however there was no grounds for a push to ban them even if their usage went against the holistic lifestyle modelled by Cass Mann. Although many of his methods are now generally accepted this approach was considered controversial in the late-80s era of pumping people full of high dose toxic drugs (AZT). Personally I feel his stance on poppers was excessively harsh however I do see why he did it. I’ve also noticed the drop in quality of poppers – the local distributor sells unlabelled bottles so I don’t know what the ingredients are although I believe they’re illegal in the country I’m in.

  4. I think this is an example of how fast the government pushes through new laws which effect the rest of the country. I believe that soon if its not stopped no one will have any human rights, or be able to make their own informed decisions and choices anymore, just because its easier for the government. I think what they don’t realise is though, is that it will push everything underground where it can’t be properly regulated, and more people will suffer because of this. This applies to soooo many things thats happening currently in the UK its rather scary that I have people making decisions and choices for me, and that in essence I have no control over my life anymore. I THINK THIS NEEDS TO STOP NOW ! ! !

  5. I have used poppers almost every day to help me have anal sex or enjoy wanking since i was 18. I am now 43. I can no longer get poppers that work and my sex life is over. Sex just hurts and I can only bear it if my partner doesn’t move while in me and i manage to come by wanking myself off. I had no side effects from using poppers for 25 years! And now because someone has banned it, I have a crap sex life and if my partner leaves me i will not be able to find someone who will put up with just keeping still while penetrating me i’m sure. I have written to the government to complain, i’ve been to my GP who gave me a prescription for Amyl Nitrite but no one is producing it so you can’t buy it any where. I think something should be done but i’m not sure what. if you have any ideas you can email me at

  6. Tnx for this post! I thought i was the only one!!!


    I live in Amsterdam. Over here is just the same. Isopropyl, alkyl or blends. Terrible.

    I heard of brands containing isobutyl.
    Anyone with experience?


  7. please cpmment if you found the real deal! you can email me at
    or leave it here

  8. POSH are a bunch of twats!

    I have no sex life now – thanks a fucking bunch!

  9. Desperate for the old stuff, cannot find any stockist anywhere and I have spent 4 years trying.

    Please somone, if you know someone willing to supply in UK, then please give me details.

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