Including Alkyl Nitrites on an Addictions Page is Misleading


Misinformation on Nitrites is Everywhere

It is disheartening to think about the vast amount of misinformation floating around out there, especially when it is in regards to alkyl nitrites.  This relatively unassuming and surprisingly useful compound has been used by mankind for quite some time and for a wide variety of purposes.  In fact, reports that one of the initial uses for alkyl nitrites was for the treatment of angina, and it is still sometimes used as an antidote for cyanide poisoning. So how did something so medically beneficial ultimately end up on the wrong side of the debate?

The answer here is pretty simple: bad information.  For instance, if you ask the people at, they will tell you all kinds of things but most of the information will be concentrated on the negative aspects of the compound for the supposed purposes of informing and deterring addicts.  Moreover, reports that “alkyl nitrates” are actually similar to nitrous oxide, which is known to be dangerous (and is furthermore not as similar as represented).  One need only look at the most basic chemical properties of both alkyl nitrite and nitrous oxide to see the glaring chemical differences there.

Nitrite vs. Nitrate: What’s the difference?

What the researchers and writers were perhaps trying to describe were “nitrites” not “nitrates,” two compounds that are amazingly different despite their similar spellings. The fact that such a fundamental difference has been ignored should be the first clue that maybe this “authority” site has no right in calling itself such, at least on the matter of alkyl nitrites. Regardless, it and many others are throwing mud on the face of alkyl nitrites and it’s high time somebody put all the facts together.

That typo is unfortunately not where the contradictions and misleading data ends.  Alkyl nitrites are also being branded as being an addictive drug – something that might come as a surprise to those who have used the compound for years without exhibiting any signs of dependency. is not the only one saying it, though.  Other so-called authorities, such as Elements Behavioral Health’s Drug Addiction Treatment, are in agreement – further claiming alkyl nitrites are the same as “Poppers.”  Indeed, it would appear as though no real research is being done on the subject, but instead only the same bad information is being regurgitated time and time again.

Start by Looking at the Facts

The fact of the matter is this: all alkyl nitrites in general are not exactly the same thing as “Poppers.”  It is a matter of simple chemistry, if there is such a thing.  The confusion here may lie in the fact that alkyl nitrites are the head of the chemical family within which most of today’s “Poppers” reside, but that doesn’t mean they are all one and the same.  “Alkyl nitrites” is simply the name given to the group of liquid compounds, which includes but is not limited to amyl nitrites and isobutyl nitrites.

Furthermore, not all “Poppers” are created equal. For starters, one must take into account facts about the manufacturer and supplier at all times. High quality Isobutyl nitrites, for example, omit a very potent aroma.  On the other hand, amyl nitrites – another member of the alkyl nitrite family – can actually provide a number of health benefits while doing the same thing.  As presented by The Free Dictionary by Farlex, amyl nitrite is admittedly a compound closely associated with the management of health and cardiovascular wellness.  Either way you look at it, putting a blanket definition and a stigma over all alkyl nitrites is a bold and misguided move.

Understanding the Statistics Surrounding Use

If all that high school chemistry doesn’t interest you, perhaps some statistics will.  After all, misinformed statistics are what got us here in the first place. Here is a good one: the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that.  That might seem shocking at first, but keep reading because the trend shows a steep decline by the time those same eighth graders reach graduation. At such an impressionable age, it is quite surprising that a drug so quickly named “addictive” could not hook more adventurous teens.

Moreover, the source reports that children are trying inhalants once and then more or less giving up, yet having alkyl nitrites included on an addictive substances list so readily comes as no surprise. Interestingly enough, most people in the United States are addicted to something other than inhalants – of the alkyl nitrite variety or otherwise. According to NIDA, the majority of people in this country are addicted to tobacco, alcohol, prescription drugs, heroin, cocaine, crack, methamphetamines, and a whole list of other drugs before they ever get hooked on alkyl nitrites or “Poppers.” What’s more is that these misleading statements and accusations of addiction are wholly unfounded and serve no purpose in the debate over the validity of “Poppers.”

Addiction is a Serious Issue

It should be noted that “addiction” is defined as: a dependence, commonly called substance use disorder, on a legal or illegal drug or medication.  Pay close attention to the words “legal or illegal substance,” because cigarettes and alcohol claim more addicts each year than any other substance.  On top of that, they tend to claim more lives as well.  Pay close attention to NBC News, because they recently presented slightly more compelling statistics for substances other than inhalants, with a reported 75,000 American lives lost each year to alcohol consumption alone – a drug that came in second place on the list from NIDA.

The biggest problem with is that they include discussion of alkyl nitrites on an addictions web site when they, themselves declare that poppers are not addictive. What is the purpose of that scare tactic strategy? They say, “Using alkyl nitrite has not been proven to cause tolerance or physical dependence. While addiction specifically to alkyl nitrite is low, it is often abused by addicts whom consistently use other mind altering chemicals. While the risk of significant injury has shown to be low when using alkyl nitrite there are very serve consequences that could arise. Use of alkyl nitrite has been associated with cardiovascular depression, hepatorenal toxicity, asphyxia, arrhythmias, carbon monoxide poisoning, neurologic dysfunction, and skin irritation.” They clearly link the compound to the user and draw a specious conclusion. That is careless and irresponsible for a self-acclaimed expert on drug addiction! What else can we discount on this addictions site?

The Final Verdict

For any authority site to not only misspell the name of a substance or compound but for it to also misrepresent that substance as addictive when it is not, is a social and scientific travesty. While drug addiction is a very serious issue, it appears to have little to do with the use of alkyl nitrites, or with the products that are commonly derived from them. With so much misinformation and confusion it is no wonder why alkyl nitrites get a bad name. Check your facts when researching poppers also known as alkyl nitrites. Just as it says on the label: use this product responsibly and achieve optimal results. It’s as simple as that.