The slang term for alkyl nitrites is poppers. The liquids are sold in small bottles that cost as low as £3.50. In the UK, poppers are available in jokes shops, sex shops, and occasionally, in pubs. Poppers open the blood vessels of the user, reduce the blood pressure of the user, and increase the heart rate. Users say that when they use poppers, they see a flushed face and a warm sensation. Because poppers relax the muscles in both the vagina and the anus, they can be used during sex. The poppers are very popular among the gay population.
Legislation of Poppers: UK
The BBC gives a legal exploration of the poppers landscape in the UK. Priti Patel, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, admits that there is a thin line of demarcation between what is legal or illegal as far as the use of poppers in the UK is concerned. She desires to get rid of the legal barriers that face the use of poppers UK and adopts a liberal use on the same.
The legal discourse on the use of poppers has been a source of heated debate. Crispin Blunt, a conservative MP, confessed that he uses poppers, and feels that banning poppers is fantastically stupid. The MPs did not hear him out, and the bill passed despite his opposition.
The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs argued that the drugs which should be of concern are the drugs which affect the central nervous system, and poppers do not. In other words, poppers do not have much effect on the body of the user and should not be included under the Psychoactive Substances Act. The legal debate was thrown into further confusion when the Supreme Court suggested that poppers are subject to legislation.
Since the ban on the poppers, the LGBT community has cried foul over the legislation and has demonstrated ever since. Manufacturers of poppers were up in arms stating that their trade should not be criminalized. Campaigners of drug policy predict that banning poppers would not reduce its supply; it would be available in the market anyway.
Comparison With Other Countries
Approximately 30 % of the gay population in Canada use poppers. However, in 2013, the federal government, Canada, entirely banned the poppers. There was no formal justification on the decision and the gay community in the country was not given much democratic space to defend its case. Unlike in the UK where the law has not been very clear on the use of poppers, Health Canada has banned any sale or any distribution of poppers.
In France, the use of poppers carries a mixed message. Their use is not clearly illegal, though there have been a few seizures and a few people have been taken in for questioning.
As recently as 1st February, 2020, there were a lot of changes in Australia regarding poppers. With the changes, poppers are to be accessed through a prescription. The Australian authorities were seeking more regulation on the use of poppers due to the potential of eye damage. However, unlike in the UK, users of poppers in Australia have complained about stigmatization and embarrassment when buying them from pharmacists.