Ban is ‘not right,’ say activists

Around 40% of gay and bisexual men reported using poppers in the last six months

Range of poppers. | Photo: Wikimedia commons

A newly-formed action group are escalating their fight to save poppers in Australia.

The Nitrite Action Group formed in response to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) proposing a ‘rescheduling’ of alkyl nitrites — the key ingredient in poppers.

The new group consists of researchers, clinicians and community health activists.

Daniel Reeders and Paul Kidd are part of the group. They launched a guide to help people submit their reasons as to why we need to save poppers.

Poppers and gay/bisexual men

The guide states evidence showing poppers use in Australia is extremely common. Studies show 34–40% of ➡️ gay and bisexual men ⬅️report using poppers in the last six months.

Poppers have been used for over 40 years, and a review of the medical literature showed only a handful of deaths and a very low rate of adverse events over that time period.

Adversely, gay and bisexual men, as well as queer people, widely use poppers to facilitate safe and comfortable receptive anal sex.

Gay porn star Kevin Lee. | Photo: Kevin Lee / Flickr

Kidd said in a press release: ‘The LGBTIQ communities have a track record of talking to government in language they understand, and it’s important to continue doing that that here.’

He then continued: ’Under the law, the purposes and benefits of poppers are relevant to the decision, so we’re encouraging people to share their own experience in a written submission.’

Even a couple of paragraphs can help, and submissions can be anonymous, he noted.

You can see their guide here.

Poppers ban pushed back

The TGA originally announced a proposal to temporarily ban the sale, use or possession of poppers in September.

It recommended to move nitrite inhalants onto Schedule 9 of the Poisons Standard — the same schedule as heroin.

‘The reasons for considering amendments to the Poisons Standard for alkyl nitrites, the main component of “poppers”, arise from the need to balance several factors,’ the TGA said in a statement.

But thanks to public pressure from the LGBTI community, the TGA has delayed its decision pending further public consultation.

The closing date for written submissions is now 15 January 2019.

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