Commonly used names include amyl nitrate, poppers.

The law:
Nitrates, most commonly known as ‘amyl nitrate’ or ‘poppers’, are controlled under the Medicines Act and sale or supply will therefore be illegal unless permitted under the terms of that Act.
This family of drugs includes: amyl nitrite, butyl nitrite and isobutyl nitrite.

How they are taken:
‘Poppers’ come as a clear or straw-coloured liquid in a small bottle or tube – the vapour is breathed in through the mouth or nose.

Nitrates are stimulants. Users may report a brief, very intense ‘head rush’ caused by a sudden surge of blood through the heart and brain.
Dilating blood vessels also result in a flushed face and neck. The effects fade two to five minutes after use.


>Nitrites can be fatal if swallowed.

>If spilled on skin, they can cause burns.

>Using nitrites is very dangerous for people with anaemia, glaucoma, and breathing or heart problems.

>Regular users can develop skin problems round the mouth and nose.

>Users often experience a headache after use.

>Nitrites can make some people feel faint and sick, especially if they are used while dancing.