UCLA CBAM Addiction Psychiatrist Dr. Timothy M. Hall and our Executive Director, Dr. Steven Shoptaw collaborated with long-time colleague Dr. Cathy Reback to co-author an article entitled “Sometimes Poppers Are Not Poppers: Huffing as an Emergent Health Concern among MSM Substance Users” . The article was recently published in the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health.

The term “poppers” originally referred to the recreational use of a substance called amyl nitrate which when inhaled, produces mild psychoactive effects and relaxes muscles to enhance sexual experience. Poppers have been around for decades, but a recent trend known as “huffing poppers” has emerged in the MSM community. It involves inhaling organic solvents or propellants and it carries greater risk both for death and for long-term neurocognitive damage than does the use of alkyl nitrite poppers. The authors express concerns about the potential for gay and bisexual men and other MSM to be introduced to the practice of huffing solvents without realizing what they are doing. Clinicians working with MSM should become well-versed on the difference between nitrite poppers and propellants or solvents commonly used in huffing so that they can recognize symptoms of use and inform their patients of the differing health risks.

To read the full article, click here.


CBAM is a multidisciplinary center that seeks to advance the prevention and treatment of chronic illnesses, especially in communities with health disparities. As part of the UCLA Department of Family Medicine, CBAM works at the intersection of academia and community with a focus on treating addictions and preventing the spread of HIV.

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