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Classification: Vasodilator

Common Names/Nicknames: Poppers, RUSH, snappers, locker room, liquid gold

Active Compound: Amyl, butyl, isobutyl, isoamyl, isobutyl, cyclohexyl, and other nitrites, such as nitroglycerin

Found in: Nitrite compounds

Mode of Consumption: Inhalation

DEA Scheduling/Legal Status (in US): Unscheduled, illegal to use for recreational drug purposes


Relaxation, giddiness, skin flushing, skin sensitivity, disinhibition


Headache, dizziness, weakness, decreased blood pressure, increased heart rate, visual disturbance, hypotensive loss of consciousness, hypoxia, fatal cardiac arrest

Dangerous Drug Combinations: 

Potentially fatal combination with alcohol, barbiturates, methaqualone, benzodiazepines, and other sedative drugs.

Special Considerations: 

While nitrites carry relatively low risk of lethality when inhaled, they are extremely toxic when ingested.

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And remember, if somebody may need help, play it safe and call for medical assistance.

“Students may bring an intoxicated or drug-impaired friend to University Health Services or to a hospital, or seek assistance from College residential life staff or HUPD, and by doing this, neither they nor the friend will face disciplinary action from the College for having used or provided alcohol or drugs.”

                                                                                    The Amnesty Policy

                                                                                    Harvard College Student Handbook



Buzzed: The Straight Facts About the Most Used and Abused Drugs from Alcohol to Ecstasy (Third Edition), by Cynthia Kuhn, Scott Swartzwelder, and Wilkie Wilson. Published 2008 by W. W. Norton & Company.


National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institute of Health (NIH) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.



U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), part of the U.S. Department of Justice.



Erowid Organization


Permanent link to this article: http://www.harvarddapa.org/resources/drug-ipedia/inhalants/nitrites/