Government announces last minute U-turn on plans to outlaw poppers

The change of heart is a major victory for LGBT advocates including Crispin Blunt and Michael Fabricant.

Poppers Loaded
Popper good Poppers will continue to be legally available to purchase in the UK.

Poppers will remain legal to purchase in the UK after the Government scrapped plans to ban the drug otherwise known as alkyl nitrites.

The decision comes just weeks before a law was set to come into force which would have seen poppers banned as part of a blanket outlawing of several legal highs currently on the market, including nitrous oxide or laughing gas.

Pushed through by Home Secretary Theresa May back in January, the law had been due to come into effect from April 6. However, a last-minute intervention has ensured that the law will not go into effect.

Writing in a letter to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, Home Office minister Karen Bradley said:“I understand that the Council has now advanced its understanding of the psychoactivity of the alkyl nitrites group under the Act and concluded that only substances that directly stimulate or depress the central nervous system are psychoactive under the Act.

“Having given due consideration, the Government agrees with your advice and interpretation of the definition.

“We do so in the understanding that “poppers” have these unique indirect effects. Our understanding is that this approach does not have any further implications for the operation of the Act and that other substances that the Act intends to cover are not affected.

A variety of poppers
Poppers for everyone There are a wide range of poppers on the market.

“We remain confident that the psychoactivity of those substances can be established under the definition in the Act. We will ask law enforcement agencies to be guided by our agreement with your advice.

“Our acceptance of your advice brings to an end the review process we were undertaking in parallel to consider the case for a bespoke exemption for the alkyl nitrites group under the Act on the basis of their beneficial and relationship effects.

“The process to exempt substances from the Act applies only to substances which meet the Act’s definition.”

Though the letter stresses that “some formulations” of poppers would still be banned, the announcement nevertheless represents a major victory for the LGBT community.

Commonly used by men to help relax the anal sphincter muscles, the debate over poppers garnered support in the commons from Conservative backbencher Crispin Blunt and Michael Fabricant, who both alluded to using the drug at one time in the past.

Positioned as strong LGBT advocates, the pair will no doubt be celebrating a major victory for the wider LGBT community today.

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