One of the first entries to come up when you search the Internet for “alkyl nitrites” is the site Blue Light. This site is billed as a discussion site and information site to help drug users reduce harm they may do to themselves. One has to ask some basic questions about the site. How for instance, does it achieve such a high search profile? It comes up midway through the second page of the search. People express frank opinions in graphic detail from their own experiences. Does this site have a harmful or helpful impact? Is it meant to be entertaining or educational? Clearly, the site can have many impacts. Since the search was for “alkyl nitrites,” the search went to that specific topic on the site. The particular thread title is alkyl nitrites or whatever the fuck they’re called ‘poppers’! The page is presented as a forum with various entries in a dialogue form based on the personal experiences of the authors of the entries.
Blue Light’s Mission is Harm Reduction
Blue Light’s mission reads a lot more serious than some of the entries do. Their mission states, “Bluelight is an international, online harm-reduction community, committed to reducing the harm associated with drug use. Bluelight neither condones nor condemns the use of drugs. Rather, we accept that drug use will always exist irrespective of legal status or societal norms. While there is no truly safe way to use drugs, we understand that prohibition and abstinence are not realistic or desirable solutions for everyone, nor have they been adequate in addressing the serious public health concerns associated with drug use. While there is no universal definition of drug-related harm reduction, Bluelight believes that through frank and open discussion we are able to deliver accurate information, eliminate misinformation and empower individuals to make wiser, more responsible choices.” Clearly that is an ambitious undertaking and one that has merit. No one can endorse causing harm to anyone.
Why Would Drug Use Reduction Refer to Poppers?
One would wonder why the forum would include the discussion of ‘poppers” in the list since technically it is not the drug amyl nitrite that is being discussed. What is being discussed is using alkyl nitrites sold for commercial use as a recreational inhalant. Perhaps their generic use of the term is related to the belief that anything anyone does for pleasure is drug use. Their mission continues, “Bluelight understands that drug use encompasses a broad range of behaviors, some safer than others, and that drug use can progress towards increased risk with some individuals. We encourage our community to be honest and cognizant of their drug use and understand the warning signs of abuse and addiction before they manifest.”
Interestingly, many of the entries pose factual information about the nature of poppers, and the impact they can have on the user. One such entry from Mr. Blonde addresses the dangers of huffing dangerous volatile substances and the difference between that and poppers, “With regards to what he said about inhalants, not all inhalants have the same dangers; nitrous and nitrites are pretty safe, whereas butane can cause instant heart failure. I’m not sure about the dangers of using nitrite, I believe it is fairly safe with increased risks when combined with other substances.
In regards to what he said about inhalants, not all inhalants have the same dangers; nitrous and nitrites are pretty safe, whereas butane can cause instant heart failure.” Clearly this brings up the age old problem of identifying alkyl nitrites with more harmful substances abused as inhalants including chemicals found in solvents, aerosol sprays, and gases that can produce a variety of additional effects during or shortly after use.
Many Informative Purposes Related to Drug
Blue Light describes several other purposes for their site as well. The degree to which they are achieved and the balance with which the topics are presented needs to be evaluated. In addition to the forums, the site offers a variety of educational topics including: Drug FAQs; various specific drug related topics; Drug Discussions; Drug Studies; Drugs in the Media; Neuroscience and Pharmacology Discussion; Drug Culture and related topics. There is also a full range of topics and links to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) whose mission is, “Founded in 1986, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana.” Clearly this is an organization that alludes to an open mindedness about alternative forms of experimentation with non-typical compounds and substances. Since there is a dearth of research on the effects and uses of alkyl nitrites, Blue light may be a resource for further study on the topic.
Use of Poppers Information is Outdated
Three glaring difficulties appear in assessing this website. The first is the age of the entries. The latest dated entry in the popper forum in 2008. Certainly, much has happened in the field in the last eight years. The second is that alkyl nitrites, or poppers, are classified with other addictive “drugs” even though they are proven to not be addictive.
The final consideration is that, due to the age of the site, does not reflect the latest research that alkyl nitrites are not psychoactive, as shown in recent British studies. It was further demonstrated by the fact that the Parliament is considering removing them from the Psychoactive Substances Act because of these scientific findings. These three short comings clearly raise a red flag on the reliability, timeliness and accuracy of the information that is presented on the more “factual” parts of the site, and specifically why it is so highly rated by search engines!
What Reliable Information About Alkyl Nitrites is Presented?
So the question of reliability is one factor that the reader needs to consider when scrolling through the blog. Another is the need to filter what is written and perhaps dig deeper into a topic of interest. If this approach is taken, then this blog appears more helpful than harmful.
As to the question about whether it is it more entertainment or education, the accurate appearing nature of the information presented in the forum weighs heavily on the educational side. While some opinions are expressed, the bulk of the comments appear to be informed and based on fact.
Clearly, the title is a bit tongue in cheek. What follows in the discussion is not off handed and simply entertaining! The links to the more research-based aspects of the site still need to be evaluated for the services they claim to offer. As stated earlier, reliable sites that deal with related topics, but especially alkyl nitrite poppers are sorely lacking. There is a clear need for reliable and accurate information, perhaps Blue Light can help serve that purpose.