During the bill’s final stage in parliament, the Shadow Home Secretary, Andy Burnham, asked for an amendment that would have exempted poppers from the bill. “I don’t want our product to be an amendment because it’s not psychoactive,” says Addy. “If we agreed to an amendment, we’d be agreeing that our product is psychoactive,” he says. “We’ve always called them aromas,” he says. The machine – which is specially designed to work safely with flammable liquids – cost more than £200,000 and is used to fill small, airtight bottles with a class of chemicals called alkyl nitrites at a rate of 1,000 per hour. Amyl nitrite and the broader class of drugs it belongs to, alkyl nitrites, were previously illegal in Australia. “Traditional nitrite poppers are fairly benign for most users,” explains Timothy Hall, MD, PhD, of the University of California, Los Angeles. A 2017 report from the Flux study showed that 32% of gay and bisexual men self-reported using amyl nitrite in the previous six months.
Gay men heading off for holidays or Pride events abroad may also find themselves guilty of importing or exporting poppers, although you would need to be found guilty of intentionally doing so. Poppers sold in pharmacies would need to be appropriately packaged. Those products need banning, without a shadow of a doubt.” But, he says, poppers aren’t one of those drugs. “Gay men would know somebody who was a chemist who could get hold of some for them,” he says, stressing that it was legal to buy. In a context where 80% of gay and bisexual men report using drugs (including amyl) over their lifetime, we might ask: what is drug criminalisation meant to achieve? Many people however, whatever their sexual orientation, who do not share the claimant’s deeply held and genuine religious beliefs, would find the use of those words in that context to be offensive. In 2018, the TGA met to amend the federal Poisons Standard and put forward a submission to severely restrict the use and availability of the chemicals that make up poppers – making them illegal to use, sell or possess. Anyone can make an application to amend the Poisons Standard if you think that these new amendments are a step too far.
One thing that really matters the most is that the variety of original poppers that are available in the market have given the women and the users of gay poppers an option to make sure that they get the product that they want. I feel like poppers have their place — they’re not illegal — they can be a beautiful thing. A petition circulated online which gained over 5000 signatures, prompting sexual health organisations such as the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations to step in and recommend that the ban not take place. Recent regulatory changes were designed to ensure that safe and reliable medications could be sold in Australian pharmacies in an easily accessible manner. We also discuss the implications of the recent scheduling changes to poppers by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration. There are also rare reports of visual changes (Audo, et al. These laws are the precursors to the modern drug criminalisation regime and would spread across Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US over the next 20 years.
“I have been selling this product for 35 years and it was used as a medicine for 100 years before that.” “You can’t die from our product,” he adds. “People would bring it in to the club and we started buying small quantities from a company in the US and selling it in the club. I feel bad. I can completely confirm I love poppers,’ Smith said. Smith added: ‘I know they’re not good for you. This would amount to supplying or offering to supply under the new law – provided you intentionally supply, you know or suspect it’s poppers and you know it will be consumed, or you’re “reckless” as to whether it will be consumed by the person you give it to or anyone else. Several people today have seen it in action, and know that it works as an odourizer! I hope you meet people with a different point of view. These amendments still make it difficult for LGBTQI people to comfortably obtain poppers from their GP or pharmacist. There is opportunity for discrimination and harassment, or an unnecessary breach of privacy for LGBTQI people. Given their importance to LGBTQI sexual health, these new and impending amendments were the best compromise to a total ban that TGA had to offer.