Scottish woman dies after downing whole bottle of sex stimulant ‘poppers’

Scottish woman dies after DRINKING whole bottle of ‘poppers’ sex inhalant marked ‘not for human consumption’

  • Unnamed woman downed an entire bottle of XL Gold and died on May 6 
  • The £3.99 liquid drug is legally marketed as room odouriser or cleaning product
  • A man bought two bottles from Scottish newsagent and gave one to the woman 
  • Often inhaled to give an ‘instant high’ or improve sex – but drinking it can be fatal 

A woman has died after downing a whole bottle of ‘poppers’ – a nasal sex stimulant that is marked ‘not for human consumption’ with a skull and crossbones warning sign. 

The unnamed woman gulped down a bottle of XL Gold on May 6 and died the same day. 

XL Gold, which is sold legally for £3.99, contains isopropyl nitrite – a liquid drug which gives an instant high when inhaled.  

The bottle is marketed as a room odouriser, cleaning product and sexual enhancement liquid.   

An unnamed Scottish woman died after gulping down a bottle of XL Gold on May 6

A police report revealed the woman died after drinking a bottle of it bought from Party Time off licence in Arbroath, Angus.

Police say she died after drinking a full  bottle of the substance.

Officers have now asked Angus Council to review the shop’s premises licence.

A police review application to go before the council’s licensing board on Thursday said: ‘A male customer bought two bottles of XL Gold from the premises.

‘He took them home and gave one to a female, who drunk the whole bottle and subsequently fell ill and passed away that same day.

‘A police enquiry concluded that ‘XL gold’ is not for human consumption. The product is chiefly either a room odouriser or cleaning product.

A police report revealed the woman died after drinking a bottle of it bought from Party Time off licence in Arbroath, Angus (pictured)

A police report revealed the woman died after drinking a bottle of it bought from Party Time off licence in Arbroath, Angus (pictured)

‘As it contains isopropyl nitrite, which is commonly referred to as ”poppers”, some people use it to inhale to get a ”quick high”.

A licensing officer visited the shop on July 3 and interviewed licence holder Mohammed Naseem.

The officer’s report said Mr Naseem had been stocking the product for at least a year and ‘understood that the point of the product was for the smell’.


Poppers – or alkyl nitrites – are sold as room odourisers to bypass the law preventing them being used for human consumption.

The substance, sold for £5 a bottle, is a muscle relaxant, which heightens pleasure during sex. 

Users say poppers give the user a pleasurable 20-second high – but sometimes followed by intense headaches. The liquid drug can cause euphoria and dizziness but wears off quickly.

One user told Vice the sensation after taking it was like being ‘lightly asphyxiated’ – because it dilates blood vessels and causing a drop in blood pressure leaving users light headed.

Doses are inhaled and typically sold in gay clubs and bars, and ‘head’ shops selling drug paraphernalia. They can also be purchased online.

In Britain it is illegal to sell them for human consumption but they can be sold as ‘odorizers’ – a tool to add smells to a gas.

Some countries, including Canada, have already banned poppers outright.

Common side effects include headaches and poppers can sometimes cause skin burns. 

At the time of the visit it was displayed on the counter among miniature bottles of alcohol but Mr Naseem said it was normally kept behind the counter.

The report added: ‘I asked if it is possible that this product has ever been sold as or advertised as alcohol.

‘He said that it is not the case, and it has always been clear that it is not alcohol. He told me, however, he does accept that the box being on the counter instead of being packed away as it normally was, may have caused confusion on the day in question.

‘He also told me that the bottle has clear indications on it that it should not be consumed, with prominent skull and crossbones on the bottle, as well as a clear danger message and the actions that should be carried out if the product is consumed.’

Poppers are often used by gay men because they offer muscle-relaxing properties that can enhance sexual pleasure.

During a debate on whether the substance should be criminalised, Tory former prisons minister Crispin Blunt said in 2016: ‘I use poppers. I out myself as a popper user and will be directly effected by this legislation.

‘I am astonished to find it is proposing to be banned – frankly so would very many other gay men.

‘My instant reaction to this is it serves to bring the whole law into disrepute.

‘Choosing to ban this, which I have been using and I know has been used … for decades, then respect for the law is going to fly out the window for people if that’s the drug that they use.’  

XL Gold is marketed online as to be ‘used to enhance sexual pleasure for men and women’ and as ‘room aroma odourisers’.

Licensing law specialist Janet Hood, representing Mr Naseem, said she could not discuss details of the case before the board meeting.

She added: ‘Obviously my client is extremely upset that the woman died but the product is legal and was sold legally.

‘It is terribly unfortunate but the product is clearly marked as not being for human consumption and in my opinion a shop cannot be held responsible for decisions someone chooses to make at home. 

‘There a number of household products from bleach to shampoo that are sold legally but should not be drunk.

‘It is a terrible tragedy.’