The Food and Drug Administration has issued a strong warning to the American people following reports of sickness and even death after several people have mistaken a popular gay sex aid for an energy shot.
The FDA has apparently received several reports of people becoming seriously ill after drinking poppers, a chemical that dilates blood vessels when inhaled.
Poppers are used primarily by gay men to enhance sexual pleasure, and are toxic if swallowed. Because of the similar appearance of the bottles that poppers and energy drinks like Five Hour Energy come in, the two have apparently been mistaken for each other by unwitting consumers.
The FDA tweeted:
"A single mistake can prove fatal."
"We continue to receive reports of people dying or being severely injured after consuming poppers that resemble, and often mistaken for, popular energy shots."
"Drinking or inhaling poppers seriously jeopardizes your health."
Poppers, various forms of the chemical alkyl nitrite, are usually sold in sex shops and come in small bottles with evocative names like Rush and Jungle Juice.
Because they are illegal in some locales, they are often marketed and labeled as "room odorizers," leather polish, nail polish remover or, back in the day, video head cleaner.
When used as an inhalant, poppers have plenty of risks of their own, including dangerous drops in blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmia. But when swallowed, it's a whole different ballgame--they are extremely toxic and can be fatal.
Which is why they usually have explicit warnings on the label about the dangers of ingesting them, as shown in the FDA's own tweet. But of course Americans aren't exactly the best about paying attention to warning labels.
Energy shots on the other hand are of course meant to be ingested and are usually sold in convenience stores. How and why people are apparently going into sex shops and thinking poppers are 5-Hour Energy is anyone's guess, but their similar packaging appearance has apparently led them to be confused with each other recently.
Of course, on Twitter, news of the mix-up generated plenty of jokes.
Given the unlikely turns of events necessary for such a mix-up to occur--including poppers' extremely strong and unpleasant chemical smell--some people were skeptical about the FDA's tweet being true.
Anyway, please be warned that when you're in your local sex shop or roadside adult bookstore, the little bottles at the checkout next to the lube and condoms are not energy shots for you to drink, as sex shops do not typically carry food products. Hope this helps all the supposedly untold hordes of Americans confused about this situation.