Sunday 23 October 2016

Nitrous Oxide abuse could prove 'fatal'

Nitrous oxide is a gas that can make people feel relaxed, euphoric and giggly, leading to its nickname ''laughing gas''.

It is not illegal to be in possession of the substance, sometimes also known as "hippie crack" but there is a risk of unconsciousness or even death from lack of oxygen - the nitrous oxide effectively pushes the oxygen out of the body.

The risk is increased if the gas is taken in an enclosed space or if a plastic bag is used that covers both nose and mouth.

"Mixing nitrous oxide with alcohol is especially dangerous," a drugs helpline says.

It can cause dizziness and heavy regular use can lead to severe vitamin B12 deficiency, which can cause serious nerve damage. Regular use also inhibits the formation of white blood cells and the immune system.

While the gas can be legitimately used for pain relief in dental procedures, in engines to make them perform better, and in aerosol cans to prevent food going off, there have been concerns at its use as a so-called legal high.

Seventeen-year-old Joseph Benett suffered a cardiac arrest after taking the party drug in 2012. The promising art student fell into a coma but later died. In September last year three revellers became ill at a nightclub in Bolton after suffering a suspected bad reaction to laughing gas.

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