Roger-Luc Chayer

In a recent press release from the Community Research Center of Canada, the organization, unknown to the editors of Gay Globe until now, describes itself as an organization that « promotes the health of gay, bisexual, trans, two-spirited and queer men (GBT2Q ) through research and development of interventions ”, headline:“ It’s time to end the ban on poppers ”.

The press release said, “The CBRC believes that Health Canada’s current ban on poppers in Canada does more harm than good by making it difficult to access a safe supply.

Used by GBT2Q people for decades as an effective way to have safe and enjoyable anal sex, possession and use of poppers (also known as alkyl nitrite products) has always been legal, however, these cannot be sold for human consumption. In 2019, more than a quarter of those polled in the CBRC’s Pan-Canadian Sex Now Survey reported using poppers in the past 6 months. Survey data also suggests that there was no appreciable decline in the use of poppers between 2012 and 2017, underscoring the ban’s ineffectiveness in curbing the latter.

The CBRC believes that the current crackdown by Health Canada risks exacerbating health inequalities among popper users across the country by restricting access to products with potential health benefits, while forcing Canadians to obtain inferior and potentially dangerous versions of this drug clandestinely. « 

It is very surprising that this research group advocates the use of poppers at the same time when the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just published an opinion on July 7 on the dangers of poppers, stating that: “the Food and US Drug Administration (FDA) warns that you should not use nitrite “poppers” for sexual or recreational purposes. This is because nitrite « poppers » can cause all kinds of adverse health effects, including death. « 

It’s pretty clear, isn’t it? The medical expertise of the Community Research Center of Canada is not the same as Health Canada or the FDA, you will agree.

Among the dangers of using poppers there is cardio-respiratory arrest if used in the presence of Viagra and other drugs against impotence, it can also cause Methemoglobinemia, a disease that lowers blood levels. Oxygen in the blood, giving an affected person a bluish complexion and in some cases, can also cause blindness if the additional ingredients are added. Poppers are substances that also cause, contrary to what the CBRC claims, medium-term dependence. Legalizing such a product would, in my opinion, be detrimental to the health of LGBT communities.