A petition has been started calling for alkyl nitrates, more commonly known as ‘poppers’, to be excluded from the Psychoactive Substances Bill.
The Psychoactive Substances Bill is a piece of a piece of legislation designed to outlaw so called ‘legal highs’. If it’s passed in its current form, it would make selling ‘poppers’ a criminal act, punishable by up to seven years in prison.
The petition to exclude them from the ban, started by Carl Howard, calls on the government to wait until “hard medical evidence” proves that they are a danger
Mr Howard’s petition also states: “They [alkyl nitrates] are widely used by many gay men as an aid during sex to lessen discomfort. This is leading to a growing feeling of resentment among the gay community that they are being unfairly targeted by a flawed and rushed “law against fun” that seeks to address a perceived problem that does not exist.”
Policing minister Mike Penning explained to the the BBC in October that the Psychoactive Substances Bill would tackle the emergence of new substances, and “put an end to the game of cat and mouse in which new drugs appear on the market more quickly than government can identify and ban them.”
However, a report by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs [ACMD], claims that the misuse of alkyl nitrates is “not seen to be capable of having harmful effects sufficient to constitute a societal problem.”
The report also went on to say: “Therefore we recommend they should not be banned. If in the future there is any evidence produced to the contrary, then ‘poppers’ should be removed from the exempted list or controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act.”
This report was raised by Home Affairs Select Committee chair Keith Vaz, who said: “Britain uses more psychoactive substances than any other country in Europe and is at risk of being overwhelmed by the sheer scale of this problem.
“Legislating on this issue is the right thing to do, however doing so at speed without any consultation may be counter-productive.
“The concerns expressed have been dealt with in a piecemeal manner, and there has been unsatisfactory communication with the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs [ACMD], the very body that the ministers should rely on for advice.”
If you want to read more about the petition to exclude alkyl nitrates from the Psychoactive Substances Bill go to: petition.parliament.uk.