What it looks like
A clear yellow liquid, which smells sweet when it's fresh and 'sweaty' when it's not.
It is also known as Butyl Nitrite, Alkyl Nitrite, Poppers, TNT, and Liquid Gold.
It is categorised as a stimulant.
How it's taken
The vapour is breathed in through the nose or mouth from a small bottle or tube.
How it's taken
There is almost an instant 'head rush' with flushed face and neck which lasts 2 yo 5 minutes.
Short term: Pounding headaches, nausea, fainting, and bulging eyes. If spilled it can burn the skin and may be fatal if swallowed. People with anaemia, glaucoma and breathing or heart problems are most at risk.
Long term: Regular use can lead to tolerance (greater amount needed to produce same effect) and an increase in risks listed above.
Amyl nitrite is very rarely used in medicine these days but is controlled under the Medicines Act. Possession is not illegal but supply can be an offence. There have been cases where the Medicines Act was used to fine shops for selling them, but they are still sold as Room Aromas or Deodorisers in sex shops and some clubs.
Crawley Police have seized a batch of poppers thinking - incorrectly - that they were covered by the new blanket ban on legal highs. But what exactly are poppers? For the benefit of Crawley police officers and others, The Independent offers this guide.
Poppers are substances in the group of chemicals known as alkyl nitrites. Originally amyl nitrites were used. Now isopropyl nitrite tends to be more common. Poppers are usually sold in small bottles, in the form of liquids that produce a vapour that can be inhaled.
It's not just head shops and online. They can be found for sale in some joke shops, as well as sex shops, and occasionally in pubs tobacconists, music stores, and clothes shops. For prices starting at about £3.50 a bottle
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The National Drugs Helpline is a 24-hour, 7-days a week, free and confidential telephone service that offers advice and information for anyone.
It is run by the government agency, known as FRANK, created to provide drug support and advice for the public.
If you need emergency help, are worried about a friend or relative's drug use or want support coping with your own, contact FRANK on-line contact or by phone.
Crawley Police have seized a batch of poppers thinking incorrectly that they were covered by the new blanket ban on legal highs. But what are poppers?
They are substances in the group of chemicals known as alkyl nitrites. Originally amyl nitrites were used. Now isopropyl nitrite tends to be more common. Poppers are usually sold in small bottles, in the form of liquids that produce a vapour that can be inhaled.
Crawley Police have been forced into making an embarrassing series of apologies after seizing a haul of poppers they wrongly thought were now illegal under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, that came into effect on Thursday.
The force began the day by retweeting a post from Sussex Police notifying people that legal highs were now "not as legal as you thought".
Residents in the city of Salisbury are being treated to an offer on a sex enhancement drug - and the deal's certainly not one to be sniffed at.
People there are celebrating after ministers U-turned on plans to outlaw alkyl nitrites, otherwise known as poppers. According to FRANK, the government's drug advice website, poppers "make it easier for some people to have anal sex".
Strictly speaking, chemsex refers to gay or bisexual men using drugs to facilitate sex with other men. Culturally, though, it has become a catch-all term for sex involving drugs and "chemsex parties", where groups of gay and bisexual men meet up, get high, and have sex with one another.
It's important to note that it's distinct from drug use which later leads to sexual activity.
Government drugs advisers have said poppers, used by many gay men to enhance sexual experience, will not be covered by a ban on legal highs.
The Psychoactive Substances Act makes it illegal to supply drugs which have a direct effect on mental processes, unless the drug is exempted. Ministers had indicated that poppers would be included in the ban. But advisers say poppers have only a peripheral effect on the brain.
Prowler on Brewer Street in Soho is the UK's largest gay lifestyle superstore. Past rails of neon elasticated underwear and shelves of pornographic comic books, neat rows of small, colourful bottles stand on top of the sales counter.
With names including Buzz, Rush, Deep and Hard On, these are poppers - alkyl nitrites in liquid form that cause a head-rush when inhaled and were banned by the Government this week.
Crispin Blunt has announced he is a user of the recreational drug known as poppers. Mr Blunt wasn't forced into a corner to confess - he felt it was his "duty to speak out against a fantastically stupid proposal to prohibit poppers.
He said: "There are some times when something is proposed which becomes personal to you and you realise the Government is about to do something fantastically stupid and one has a duty to speak up."
'Poppers' are short lasting drugs, called alkyl nitrites, which cause a headrush and muscle relaxation. They are liquids that vapourise for inhaling. The first, amyl nitrite, was made in 1844 and was used to relieve angina. Recreational use of amyl nitrite started in the 1960s. After consequent restrictions on its production and use, various other alkyl nitrites appeared. The main examples include: isopropyl nitrite, isobutyl nitrite and butyl nitrite.
Poppers, a plastic pot of acetone smelling gas, passed around by teenagers in night clubs or gay men in the bedroom. A head rush and you're done.
Yet sweeping drug law reform threatens to inflict the harshest of sentences for their use or sale. In the absence of medical evidence, in the maelstrom of moral panic around "legal highs", our Home Secretary has imposed heavy new criminal punishments for a range of substances previously seen as harmless.
Poppers can be used either on their own or with other drugs to enhance their effects.
They are often favoured by gay and bisexual men to enhance sex as, amongst other things, they relax the anus which can ease discomfort during penetrative intercourse. Some people can achieve a 'high' from using Poppers and can realise a sense of sexual excitement and heightened sensual awareness.
At least five people have fallen ill after drinking suspected "legal highs" at Parklife festival over the weekend.
Four people have been discharged from North Manchester General Hospital but a 26-year-old woman is still being treated. Her condition is not known. Greater Manchester Police said festival-goers had been drinking poppers, which are usually sniffed.
The acceptance of gay men and lesbians by America is a double-edged sword. Homosexuals can now serve in the military, adopt children, and marry.
It also means that some of the wonderful things that were kept in the darker nooks and crannies of the gay world are now seeing the light of day and, like most awesome things that gay people started, straight people are now discovering and totally ruining them.
Poppers can be inhaled for a quick high or to enhance sexual pleasure. Now French doctors are warning they can cause eye damage and impaired vision.
In a letter to The New England Journal of Medicine, the ophthalmologists describe four cases over three months in which patients' vision was affected after they used poppers at parties. Several complained of seeing bright dots of light, and retinal imaging revealed damage to the photoreceptors in the fovea.
The inhalable nitrites may be the nearest thing to a true aphrodisiac. About 250 million recreational doses are consumed yearly in the US.
The volatile nitrites are yellowish flammable liquids with an odor variously described as fruity or old gym socks. There are 2 forms: amyl nitrite, used in cardiology for conditions such as angina; and butyl nitrite, which is marketed as a "room odorizer," under names such as Quicksilver and Hardware.