Alkyl Nitrites ('poppers')
The term 'poppers' comes from the small glass capsules in which the liquids were first available. These made a popping noise when broken open to release the contents. Poppers for recreational use now come in little bottles with screw or plug tops, under various trade names such as TNT, Rush, Raw and Liquid Gold. These are widely available in dance clubs and various retail outlets. It is particularly popular in the rave/warehouse party scene, where each bottle can be purchased for as little as 50p to £1.
The most common medical nitrite is amyl nitrite but most poppers bought for recreational use in the UK are usually the less potent butyl nitrite.
Amyl and butyl nitrite are generally inhaled. The effects of the drug start after about 15 seconds, and last for up to 3 minutes. Poppers go off within a few hours if the bottle is left open or not properly closed. If they are stored correctly in the fridge, they stay fresh for a couple of weeks.