Poppers : timeline

A French chemist named Antoine-Jérôme Balard synthesizes amyl nitrite for the first time. It is packaged in the form of capsules and is generally treated as a vasodilator, with applications in cardiology.

In the 1860s and 70s
Sir Thomas Lauder Brunton, a Scottish physician, uses amyl nitrite to treat heart spasms. The product is also used to treat heart diseases and cure cyanide poisoning.

During the Vietnam War (1964-1975)
Amyl nitrite is no longer used for medicinal purposes. The remaining supplies are given to American soldiers who are sent to Vietnam. They get poppers in their equipment to increase their fighting spirit.

Around 1970
Trendy gays and straight people discover poppers. Poppers are becoming increasingly popular for their euphoric virtues on nightlife scenes, and equally so for their aphrodisiac, sexual effects. They significantly enlarge the anus and cause powerful erections. This makes them a must-have for gays, but they also gain popularity outside the gay world.

Release of Score with Radley Metzger, an erotic film in which a bisexual woman uses poppers to seduce her partners.

During the Acid House and rave years, poppers were used by partygoers, along with drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy. Some use them to neutralize the effect of the well-known ‘dip’ after the intake of drugs. Several brands appear, such as Rush, which continues to be the most famous brand.

At the very beginning of the AIDS epidemic, some scientists believed that poppers contributed to HIV infections and Kaposi’s sarcoma. This way of thinking turned out to be wrong.
After the success of groups such as the Chemical Brothers, Fat Boy Slim and Prodigy, a popular musical wave arrives in England, somewhere between rock and techno, called Big Beat. Amyl nitrite is claimed as the flagship of the movement.

Poppers start to be banned. This leads up to a different composition of poppers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union. In some countries nitrites are allowed, in others not. Since 2007, only poppers with isopropyl, amyl and pentyl nitrite are available in the EU. The use of other nitrites is in fact illegal, especially in France. It is also illegal to advertise about it in the UK. However, they are legally sold as air fresheners and aromatherapy products. In the United States, the use of isobutyl nitrite has remained illegal, and poppers containing amyl nitrite are total banned in Canada. These are considered by connoisseurs as the best of their kind.

a decree issued in 2007 by the Fillon government to ban poppers from the territory led to some tumult in France. The decision was  revoked by the Council of State on the grounds of “excessive and disproportionate measures regarding the risks” of poppers to the health of consumers. In 2009 and 2011, further attempts are made by the Sarkozy team to ban the product, but eventually Left comes to power and things ease up considerably. However, nitrite alkyl remains banned because it entails a real danger when used together with Viagra, for example. For the rest, France is aligned with the EU and accepts the sale and use of poppers based on isopropyl, amyl and pentyl nitrite. Legally speaking, poppers therefore do not belong to the category of narcotics but are considered as an aphrodisiac, similar to aromatherapy.

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