Amyl nitrate is an inhalant prescribed to individuals who suffer from angina or chest pain. When a person experiences chest pain, this drug serves to widen the blood vessels, allowing more oxygen rich blood to flow to the heart. When blood vessels start to widen, it helps to ease a person’s chest pain.
This drug is sometimes misused by people who want to get high. It’s included in a group of inhalants referred to as “poppers” by many drug users. These are fast-acting inhalants that give a user a rush, or an intense feeling of euphoria. Consider some more facts about this prescription inhalant and find out how it’s being abused.
What Is Amyl Nitrate?
A patient who has a prescription for this drug receives a supply of glass capsules in a box. Each of the capsules has a protective covering on it. In order to take the drug, a person must squeeze or crush the capsule between two fingers. This frees a small amount of yellowish liquid from the capsule. Right away, the user will notice that the liquid has a strong, fruity odor. When the person inhales this drug, he experiences relief from chest pain within about 30 seconds. The relief can last for several minutes.
When a doctor prescribes this drug, he provides specific instructions to a patient regarding dosage and any possible side effects. This drug is closely monitored by the physician so if there are any problems or issues, the physician and patient can address them together. Monitoring a patient’s use of this drug can cut down on the incidence of abuse. However, there are still people who choose to use this drug for unintended purposes.
The Abuse of Amyl Nitrate
An individual may start inhaling amyl nitrate to experience an intense high. This inhalant takes effect quickly and prompts many physical reactions. For instance, this drug can relax the involuntary muscles of a person’s anal sphincter. It also heightens a person’s state of sexual arousal. Oftentimes, when people abuse this drug, they lose track of time and experience foggy thinking. It’s commonly found at concerts, raves and clubs where there’s loud music and a great number of flickering lights. Young people sometimes use it to enhance their experiences at a rock concert or show.
It’s common for this drug to be taken with ecstasy, alcohol or other types of inhalants. This makes it even more dangerous due to the possible interaction with different substances. Instead of carrying glass capsules, some abusers pour the liquid form of the drug into a glass vial. They may wear the vial on a necklace or put it into a purse. This poses yet another risk to the person because of the flammable nature of this drug. A person who’s abusing this drug may steal it from a family member or friend who has a legitimate prescription. Alternately, a person may get it off the street from someone who has obtained it through illegitimate means.
Physical and Mental Effects of Using Amyl Nitrate
A compromised immune system is one of the physical effects of using this drug. Some of the ingredients serve to weaken the immune system, leaving a person vulnerable to diseases and illness. At one time, it was thought that the use of this drug contributed to the AIDS epidemic, but that has never been proven by scientists. In addition, this drug can damage healthy red blood cells in a user’s body. It prevents red blood cells from delivering oxygen to various parts of the body. Once again, this can make the body more vulnerable to sickness and doesn’t allow the body’s organs to function as they should. In the long term, this condition can lead to death.
Some of the other physical effects of abusing this drug include extreme headaches, dizziness, nausea, fainting, shortness of breath and accelerated heart rate. Of course, there’s also the possibility of overdose. Someone who inhales or “huffs” this drug can experience a quick drop in blood pressure which can lead to shock or even death. A person who abuses this drug may have a preexisting condition, such as low blood pressure or a heart condition, which puts him at even greater risk of overdose or death.
In addition to inducing numerous physical effects, this drug can also affect a person’s mental state in several ways. For instance, abusing this drug can cause a person to have hallucinations, delirium, fear, panic and a high level of confusion. Someone under the influence of this drug may take risks he wouldn’t normally take. This can result in physical injury or death. An individual who abuses this drug will likely start to neglect family, friends, school and work. This reduces the person’s overall quality of life.
If you know someone who’s abusing amyl nitrate, it’s important to seek help right away. The potential for overdose is very high for someone who’s abusing this inhalant. The first step you can take is to call the hotline at 800-447-9081. There are trained counselors and healthcare professionals who can help you or a loved one break free of an addiction to this powerful drug.