Alkyl nitrites, more popularly known as poppers, are a popular party drug among the LGBT+ community. What are poppers? “Poppers” is the slang term for alkyl nitrites. It is a chemical drug that is often inhaled for euphoric and sexually productive effects. Originally used for chest pains, alkyl nitrites were then used recreationally during gay disco in the 1970s. The drug loosens muscles—such as the throat and anus.