Poppers is the usual name of various forms of alkyl nitrites. They are used as recreational drugs to intensify sexual intercourses and provoke a short euphoria just after their inhalation. In spite of several periods of ban in the 2000s, poppers' use sharply rose between 2000 and 2010. In the adult population as in teenagers, it is the second product consumed after cannabis among illicit drugs, confirming that it concerns circles wider than gays and lesbians who are sometimes depicted as emblematic users. The lifetime use of poppers concerns 5.3% of 18-64 years in 2010, men (7.2%) more than women (3.4%). At the end of the adolescence, its lifetime prevalence is 8.8% for girls and 9.2% for boys. In the general population and especially among young people, poppers is favourably considered. Nevertheless, this product is not without danger, even if the risk of dependence is extremely low. Several avenues of interventions may be outlined, mainly based on information and a regular follow-up of users which can allow to avoid an intensification of the consumption.
© 2014 médecine/sciences – Inserm.