Amyl Nitrite/Poppers: the facts WHAT IS AMYL NITRITE? What does Amyl nitrite is also known as ‘poppers’. Butyl Amyl nitrite has been used for some medical and isobutyl nitrites have been sold under procedures in the past but has a limited amyl nitrite look like? many names including rush, climax, ram, role now. It is also used to treat cyanide It is a clear, yellow, highly volatile and thrust and heart-on and jungle juice aroma. poisoning. flammable liquid. The liquid smells sweet and Amyl nitrite is classified as an inhalant Historically, amyl nitrite has been used to fruity when fresh but like ‘sweaty socks’ when and is a vasodilator which means it dilates enhance sexual experience. Amyl nitrite is stale. blood vessels. It is one of the alkyl nitrite used at clubs and dance parties. The effects class of drugs. Others include butyl nitrite, are felt within 30 seconds of inhalation and Nitrites are usually sold as a liquid, contained isobutyl nitrite and the nitrates such as last for two to three minutes. in small bottles. Recreational users inhale the nitro-glycerine. fumes from the bottle in ‘snorts’.
effects of AMYL NITRITE Physical effects may include: • irregular or rapid heart beat or LONG TERM EFFECTS arrhythmia • warm sensations While the level of harm generally experienced from the • chest pain • light-headedness and dizziness inhalation of nitrites is low, use can result in a range of • increased libido • low blood pressure clinical conditions varying from mild allergic reactions to life • temporary erectile dysfunction • nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea threatening methaeglobinaemia, which is a blood disorder • unpleasant breath • loss of consciousness. which can lead to inadequate oxygen supply to body tissue. • skin sensitivity Other possible concerns from prolonged use include Psychological effects may include: • redness or itching around mouth impact on cognition (problem solving) and memory. and nose • euphoria Use of nitrites should be avoided by people who are • headache • increased sensual awareness anaemic, pregnant women and those with blood pressure • sinusitis • visual distortions problems or a history of cerebral haemorrhaging. • runny nose • lowered inhibitions / increased Long term effects include: • wheezing and breathing difficulty confidence (which can lead to risky • skin lesions • nose bleeds behaviour) • skin problems particularly around the nose, mouth, lips • impaired/decreased coordination • agitation, uneasiness and aggression and face and muscle control • confusion and disorientation • damage to eyes and vision which may be persistent • bloodshot or glazed eyes • impaired judgement • increased intraocular pressure which is risky for people • blurred vision • impaired capacity as a parent/ primary with underlying glaucoma. carer of children.
MIXING WITH OVERDOSE PREGNANCY and While the possibility of death or serious OTHER DRUGS injury from inhaling nitrites is fairly BREASTFEEDING Taking Viagra or other drugs used remote, if they are swallowed rather If a mother uses amyl nitrite while breastfeeding, it is possible to treat erection problems with than inhaled they can cause major that the drug will be present in her milk and have adverse amyl nitrite and/or other nitrites medical problems by interfering with effects on the baby. can cause a serious decrease in the ability of the blood to transport It is generally risky to take any drug while breastfeeding blood pressure, leading to fainting, oxygen. Swallowing nitrites can lead to without medical advice. stroke, or even heart attack. death. Inhaling the fluid rather than the Amyl nitrites can possibly harm the unborn baby when taken vapours generally from trying to sniff by a pregnant woman because it significantly reduces blood while in a horizontal position can also flow across the maternal side of the cord. Inform antenatal lead to significant medical problems. staff of amyl nitrite use and attend regular antenatal checkups.
AMYL NITRITE RELATED EMERGENCY If the person has been mixing amyl nitrite with other drugs or nitrites, tell the NSW Ambulance paramedic exactly what they have taken. Paramedics If you can’t wake someone up or you are concerned that they are there to help. Generally paramedics don’t involve the police unless may have sustained a head injury from a drug related fall – call an there is danger to themselves or other people/children, someone dies, or ambulance immediately – dial Triple Zero (000). a crime (such as violence or theft) has been committed. THE LAW driving under the Self-help In Australia it is illegal to sell, supply or inhale products containing any of influence of AMYL NITRITE associations the five following nitrites: amyl, iso- It is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs, na.org.au for Narcotics amyl, alkyl, butyl and octyl – unless including amyl nitrite. If you break this law you could Anoymous Australia, a non it is under specifically approved lose your licence for a set time, and/or be fined. profit fellowship or society of circumstances such as a prescription Anyone under the influence of amyl nitrite who kills or recovering addicts who meet from a medical practitioner, regularly to help each other stay pharmacist supply or distribution by a injures another person while driving can be sentenced to a term in prison. clean via a program of complete licence holder. abstinence from all drugs. Information and advice For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drugs 24 hours, 7 days a week, call the National Alcohol and Other Drug hotline: 1800 250 015. It will automatically direct you to the Alcohol and Drug Information Service in the state or territory you are calling from.
Your room provides drug and alcohol Kids Helpline is a free, 24 hour counselling Youth Action is the peak organisation information and advice, campaigns and service for young people aged 5 to 25 years. for young people in NSW. Visit resources. Visit www.yourroom.com.au Counselling is offered via the Kids Helpline www.youthaction.org.au and use the website www.kidshelp.com.au or email, Aboriginal Health and Medical Research search option to access a directory of or call 1800 55 1800. Council provides links to Aboriginal NSW youth services. community controlled health services Nepean Youth Drug and Alcohol Service Youth Solutions provides services for across NSW. Visit www.ahmrc.org.au (NYDAS) works within a holistic model of young people 12 to 25 years of age and the for information about AHMRC members care to address a range of issues for young community including prevention and health including a regional map, information and people (12 –20 years of age) related to their promotion, drug and alcohol education, links to members websites. alcohol and other drug use. Call (02) 4734 community programs and information Drug and Alcohol Multicultural Education 2129 or (02) 4734 1333. and referral. Visit www.youthsolutions. Centre (DAMEC) provides services for com.au or call (02) 4628 2319 [provides people from culturally and linguistically NSW Users and AIDS Association (NUAA) services to young people in Macarthur & diverse communities. Contact DAMEC on is a peak drug user organisation in NSW Wingecarribee]. (02) 8113 1301 or for counselling and providing harm reduction information and support services for CALD communities blood borne virus prevention peer NSW Health aims to reduce drug-related call (02) 8706 0150. education. Visit www.nuaa.org.au harm for individuals and the community Drug Info provides facts and resources on Poisons Information Centre is a 24/7 call by providing the facts, including the alcohol and other drugs and the prevention of centre service available across Australia. possible health, social and economic related harm. Visit www.druginfo.adf.org.au Call 13 11 26 consequences of using alcohol and other drugs. State Library of New South Wales Drug ReachOut is an Australian online youth Info provides up to date information on mental health service with a mobile-friendly A range of drug and alcohol fact sheets is alcohol and other drugs in public libraries available for download at: site and forums where you can access help, throughout NSW. www.yourroom.com.au Visit www.druginfo.sl.nsw.gov.au information and support. Visit au.reachout.com eheadspace provides mental health and Sexual Health Info Link provides free wellbeing support, information and services and confidential sexual health support and for young people (12-25 years) and their information. Visit www.shil.nsw.gov.au family and friends. Visit www.eheadspace.org.au TAFE NSW provides help with education, career development or personal matters. Family Drug Support provides 24-7 www.yourroom.com.au telephone support to families in crisis due to Students can contact a local TAFE/ drug and alcohol issues. Call the Helpline on university counsellor. 1300 368 186 or visit www.fds.org.au Visit www.tafensw.edu.au
© NSW Ministry of Health 2014 SHPN (CPH) 190442 ISBN 978-1-76081-231-7 Updated 2019