I’m pretty sure that just about every gay/SGL and bi guy on the planet knows what poppers are! 

     And what they do.

     But for those who don’t, here’s the deal: poppers are those chems you sniff and inhale during sex to get that HIGH.  And some guys use them to relax, to get that calming buzz—in attempts to ward off any awkwardness, nervousness, or/and apprehension while “gittin’ busy.”

     But a recent U.S. News and World Report Health Day article states, “New types of inhaled recreational drugs called ‘poppers’ can contain harmful solvents and propellants that are extremely dangerous, researchers warn.  Traditional poppers (which got the name from their glass vials that “popped”) became popular decades ago among gay men because they enhance sex by giving a mild high and relaxing smooth muscle.  These poppers are based on alkyl nitrates and are related to the medication amyl nitrite.”

     However, according to the publication, some new products being sold as poppers (using brand names such as “Maximum Impact”) are more dangerous than the originals, and pose severe health risks.  And according to a recent edition of the Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health, “Those risks include a potentially deadly heart rhythm disorder called ‘sudden sniffing death’.  Other potential risks from the new poppers include short-term delirium, memory and thinking problems, and nerve damage.”

     U.S. News and World Report Health Day went on to state the following: “Despite the increasing use of, and risks posed by, these huffing (sniffing, inhaling) solvents being marketed as poppers, they have received little attention in the gay or mainstream media or in addiction textbooks, according to a research team led by Dr. Timothy Hall of the University of California, Los Angeles.

     “Gay men can easily be introduced to these products by sexual partners without being aware of the dangers, Hall and his colleagues said.

     “Physicians also need to understand the dangers and alert their patients, the study authors added.

     “Doctors ‘are taught almost nothing about regular nitrite poppers.  They’re little more than a footnote at the back of most addiction textbooks, lumped in with sniffing glue and huffing aerosols, even though the physiologic effects are quite different,’ Hall said in a news release.

     “’Gay and bisexual men, on the other hand, have little exposure to huffing but tend to think of nitrite poppers as fairly benign,’ he added.  ‘There’s a real risk here for (gay men) to be taking a much more harmful substance than they’re expecting, and for clinicians not to recognize the difference’.”

     So, men:  be very, very careful what’cha sniff!  Ya see, you might not wind up in the universe you were aiming for.