Original Article: bit.ly/1A27rZe
Participants in a new study have reported a small but growing and worrisome trend among some gay American men. Often described as a new way to use poppers or as huffing poppers, in fact, the practice is simply inhaling organic solvents or propellants. This practice appears to have been going on for several years but may be increasing.
“Poppers” originally referred to recreational use of amyl nitrite, a substance that triggers production of nitric oxide and thereby produces a potent effect of widening of the blood vessels. It has been used to enhance sexual experience through relaxing smooth muscle and its mild psychoactive effects. Since the 1980s, amyl nitrite has been restricted to medical uses in the United States and Europe, but a number of related alkyl nitrites continue to be available in legal or semi-legal form.
The current trend does not involve the conventional poppers, which are inhaled directly from a bottle, typically in smaller amounts. The new huffing of solvents and propellants carries substantially greater risk both for death and for long-term neurocognitive damage than does the use of nitrite poppers. These new products now appear to be marketed toward or used by gay men, who may not recognize the difference between huffing solvents or propellants and the use of alkyl nitrite poppers.
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