Methamphetamine, or "meth," is dangerous and most popular drug among youngsters and students. Nearly three decades ago, as featured in The Advocate's first cover story on drug abuse, it was amyl nitrate, or "poppers."
When compared with crystal and its devastating effects, poppers were a relatively mild threat. In fact, many only saw its benefits. "Amyl nitrate is the only drug gay people can claim to know better than straight people," wrote journalist Karen West. "It smells worse than rotten socks.... [But] there's no risk of addiction, and you never read headlines announcing, 'Police Raid Baths, Confiscate Poppers.
Pharmacologist Norman Kramer warned, however, that 'the fact that there are no publicized reports of serious adverse effects ... may well be a reflection of the fact that most who indulge are young and healthy." The popularity of these drugs decreased in the time of 1980s as its association with sexual abandon lead to a rumored connection with AIDS or other sex disease infection.