Sunday, 3 October 2021

All-time high of deaths from Laughing gas, ‘hippy crack', Nos

Nitrous oxide – known as “hippy crack” – is now the second most used drug and is huge among 16 to 24-year-olds after over half a million young people reported taking the drug in 2019-20.

Earlier this month, Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was ready to “take tough action” on its use.

Nitrous oxide, which is usually sold in small silver canisters and inhaled, can cause serious long-term effects such as vitamin B12 deficiency and anaemia. It is also commonly used at anti-social gatherings and leads to widespread littering in public places, bringing misery to communities.

Nitrous oxide is taken mostly through balloons filled from small metal cylinders that are often seen littering the streets.

Physical health risks

It is very dangerous to inhale nitrous oxide directly from the canister, and doing it in an enclosed space is also very dangerous.
Never place a plastic bag over your head.
If you take too much nitrous oxide you risk falling unconscious and/or suffocating from the lack of oxygen. People have died this way.

Other risks include:

Dizziness, which might make you act carelessly or dangerously.
Heavy regular use of nitrous oxide can lead to a deficiency of vitamin B12 and to a form of anaemia. Severe B12 deficiency can lead to serious nerve damage, causing tingling and numbness in the fingers and toes. This can be very painful and make walking difficult.
Regular use can stop you forming white blood cells properly.
It can be hard to judge the amount to use safely. If you have too much you can end up fainting, having an accident or worse.

Mixing nitrous oxide with alcohol is especially dangerous as it can increase the risks associated with both substances and can lead to an increased risk of accidents.

The Law

Some volatile substances are covered by the 2016 Psychoactive Substances Act, which means it’s illegal to give away or sell.
There’s no penalty for possession, unless you’re in prison.
Supply and production can get you up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.

Like drink-driving, driving when high is dangerous and illegal. If you’re caught driving under the influence, you may receive a heavy fine, driving ban, or prison sentence.

If the police catch people supplying illegal drugs in a home, club, bar or hostel, they can potentially prosecute the landlord, club owner or any other person concerned in the management of the premises.

Additional law details

As of 2016, nitrous oxide is covered by the Psychoactive Substances Act and is illegal to supply or import nitrous oxide for its psychoactive effect for human consumption.

The government has concerns that this could be a significant factor resulting in the increasing consumption of the substance.

Further information and help is available as follows:

Summary (courtesy of Blendon and Penhill Police (FB)):





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