What were they inhaling?
October 15, 2014 5:52 AM   Subscribe

What were those high schoolers inhaling on my bus in the late 70's?

In the late 70's where I lived in the coastal south the school-buses carried all age groups on the same bus - highschoolers down to elementary school. It was not always a pleasant experience. As you'd expect the 'wild ones' sat in the very back of the bus. Regularly some of these kids were inhaling something back there to get high. You would hear a loud POP and then a very noisy crackling sound like heavy duty cellophane being balled up. Within a minute or two it became very difficult to breathe on the bus. The air seemed to be filled with invisible particulates that made everyone cough and gasping for air. It didn't last long but you could hear giddiness coming from the very back seats as whatever it was they were doing took effect.

My question is - what were they doing? What was it that made it so difficult to breathe for the rest of us? I've always wondered about this and thought if anyone could answer this it would be on the green.
posted by dukes909 to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Poppers
posted by Confess, Fletch at 5:57 AM on October 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Interesting...if one person was doing them, what made everyone else on the bus cough?
posted by dukes909 at 6:04 AM on October 15, 2014

Best answer: Second hand smoke amyl nitrite. I've been around it and that's not hard to imagine.
posted by alms at 6:08 AM on October 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

Amyl Nitrate is very volatile meaning once exposed it evaporates quickly and spreads into the surrounding atmosphere readily. It is an irritant to mucous membranes.

Per above it was almost certainly Amyl Nitrate.
posted by vapidave at 8:50 PM on October 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've heard it described as smelling like dirty socks.
posted by doctor tough love at 10:24 AM on October 16, 2014

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