Amyl nitrite, commonly known as poppers, could become illegal in Australia soon.
Amyl nitrite, commonly known as poppers, could become illegal in Australia soon. Wikimedia Commons

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has supported a proposal to ban an inhalant drug that is commonly used for sex and recreational activities. Amyl nitrite, more commonly known as poppers, could be classified as an illegal drug soon.

The Star Observer reports that if the proposal was approved, the inhalants would be categorised the way as heroine, and this would make the possession, sale or use of poppers a criminal offence. In its published decision, the TGA cited advice given by the Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling (ACMS), which stated that amyl have “numerous risks of harms with little or no therapeutic benefit.”

Its “risks include illicit use for euphoric and muscle relaxant effects, which as the publication notes, mainly suggests that anal sex is an illegal activity with “adverse events including maculopathy and methaemoglobinaemia.”

TGA included the demographics of a survey result, which suggested that the inhalant was once associated with the LGBTI community.

The inhalant dilates blood vessels, giving users a brief head-rush. And as it also creates a relaxation effect on involuntary smooth muscles, it is used for sexual activities.

Dr Aifric Boylan, Australian GP and CEO of online doctor service Qoctor, told Vice in January that amyl nitrite can give users a “sense of euphoria, increased sex drive, reduced inhibitions, increased skin sensitivity, as well as relaxation of the walls of the anus and vagina.” Its side effects can include headaches, chest pains, nose bleeds and temporary erectile dysfunction.

The sale of any product containing amyl nitrite for recreational use is illegal in Australia, according to, but poppers are available for purchase at many adult shops and bathhouses, often labelled as “leather cleaner” and “nail polish remover.”

TGA is currently accepting submissions over its decision until Oct. 11.