Research by Sydney’s University of Technology found “no correlation between popper use and mental health or psychological stress.”
Researchers surveyed 800 gay and bisexual men between the ages 18 and 35 who use the inhalants.
They asked the men about “dependency characteristics, including health, social, legal and financial problems.”
The results of the research suggest use of the drug poses no danger of addiction or mental health issues to users.
Users commonly inhale poppers through the nose. They use the inhalant to relax the sphincter during anal sex, and also recreationally as a party drug.
Dr. Daniel Demant, public health researcher at the University of Technology Sydney, spoke to the Medical Xpress about the outcome of the research.
He described poppers as “a very commonly used drug in the LGBT community, both recently and over their lifetime.”
He spoke of the users as “already oppressed or marginalised based on their social identity as gay or bisexual men.
“This creates a question as to whether there would have been a discriminatory element in banning a substance with such a low risk profile.
“Banning a substance that is used by so many people would create a new class of criminals, basically overnight.”
No ban on poppers
Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) recently decided against an outright ban on poppers.
It instead reclassified some of the ingredients used in Australia.
As a result, those containing amyl could become available at pharmacies in the next few years.
Legal uncertainty over poppers saw them sold as everything from ‘leather cleaner’ to ‘video head cleaner’ over past decades.
Dr. Demant called for an end to that pretence.
“We could stop pretending that poppers are sold for anything other than getting people high. And once we do offer it in pharmacies, we would have something made to the highest standards for people to use.”
Physical side effects of popper use
Users should recognise that poppers can produce other side effects.
These include headache, dizziness, loss of inhibition and the risk of chemical burns to the face.
They can cause a drop in blood pressure and previously caused deaths when used in conjunction with erectile dysfunction medication.
In the words of DocQ, Dr Fiona Bisshop, “Poppers are not completely harmless, but occasional use is unlikely to result in serious harm.”
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