Many inhalants are household items that can be easily obtained in a local hardware store or supermarket. Oftentimes, homes will have a number of substances that can be inhaled or sniffed to get high. Because these substances are usually easy to obtain, inhalant abuse has become common among pre-teens and teenagers. But the major question is: can you overdose on poppers?
Poppers are a liquid chemical sold in small bottles that are sniffed for euphoric and perception-altering side effects. Other names for poppers include Amyls, Kix, Liquid Gold, Ram, Rock Hard, and TNT. Poppers are a chemical called alkyl nitrites. Nitrates were originally used to treat chest pains (angina) and were sold in small glass capsules or bottles that were popped open and sniffed, hence the name “poppers.” Because poppers are illegal under the Medicines Act of 1968, they’re often sold as “room aromas” or “deodorizers” in sex shops, clubs, market stalls, and on the internet.
People use poppers by either sniffing them out of the bottle or using a cloth or the end of an unlit cigarette to absorb them. Sniffing poppers increases blood flow to the brain and affects chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, producing side effects like euphoria, increased sex drive, and increased sensitivity to touch. Some adverse side effects of poppers also include nosebleeds, fainting, nausea, lack of coordination, headache, and chest pains. Poppers can also cause erectile dysfunction.
Yes, you can overdose on poppers. You can even die from a popper’s overdose, as well. Because the high from poppers only last a few minutes, users will often inhale the substance repeatedly, increasing their risk of overdose, oxygen deprivation, and sudden death.
Some other overdose symptoms of inhalants include:
Although there isn’t a specific type of poppers overdose treatment, if you recognize the signs of a poppers overdose, call 9-1-1 immediately. The best way to increase the person’s chances of survival is to get them medical attention. On another note, poppers abuse can open the door to experimentation with other substances that may be even more addictive and dangerous. If you find out that a loved one is struggling with poppers use or any other form of substance abuse, our partial hospitalization program at Banyan Massachusetts can help.