Latest party drug in Britain: Laughing gas
Britain is planning to crackdown on a ‘legal high’ which is sold in music concerts across the country — ‘laughing gas’.
A national public health warning was issued on Saturday by councils about laughing gas or nitrous oxide as a massive crackdown was launched on the potentially lethal drug.
It is fast becoming a favourite among celebrities and has been linked with a number of deaths being used by almost half a million young people across the country.
The warning come after more than 20 music festivals chiefs announced that traders at their events selling so-called ‘legal highs’ including nitrous oxide would be banned.
The Local Government Association (LGA) which represents almost 400 councils in England and Wales said local authorities up and down the country are seizing hauls of canisters and highlighting the dangers of the gas. Warning postcards have been distributed to pupils at some schools and youth clubs.
The LGA is particularly concerned that internet clips self-filmed by children abusing the drug and uploaded onto YouTube are glamourizing it and wants the web giants to introduce health warnings and links to drug awareness charities. Online chat rooms discuss the best websites for users to buy laughing gas - which is regularly taken at nightspots, festivals and parties - and Facebook and Twitter users openly advertise delivery ‘to your door’.
Nitrous oxide is legally and safely used to numb pain during medical procedures such as dental work.
But it is also a hugely popular ‘party’ drug, with users inhaling it from balloons. This can lead to hypoxia (oxygen deprivation), resulting in loss of blood pressure, fainting and even heart attacks.
Prolonged exposure can cause anaemia, bone marrow suppression and poisoning of the central nervous system. These risks are heightened if it is combined with drink or other drugs.