'Laughing gas’: The 'hot' and dangerous drug that's trending with teenagers

‘Even in times of confusion, you shouldn’t confuse having a good time with danger.’ This was the statement made about the use of nitrous oxide (NO2).

'Laughing gas’: The 'hot' and dangerous drug that's trending with teenagers
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Thisgas, commonly found in whipped cream siphon canisters, has been a dangerous pastime among teenagersand students for some time due to its euphoric effects.

A usage increase in lockdown

According to the press release mentioned above, the use of this drug increased in several European countries when the respective lockdowns or quarantines ended, hence the need to remind the population about just how dangerous this substance can be. Known as ‘laughing gas’, this drug first became popular in the 1980s and 1990s before recently resurfacing. In 2018, a study carried out by the health insurance company Smerep revealed that it was the third most commonly used drugamong students, following cannabis and poppers.

The first risk associated with usingnitrous oxide, especially with regards to movement, is that accidents can occur that not only endanger the user’s life but the lives of others as well. As a result, you shouldn’t inhale this gas as it can cause visual and audio distortions, dizziness or discomfort which can lead to accidents for the user and others.

NO2 canisters Getty Images

Immediate and long-term risks

Over the years, many organistion, both governmental and indepedants, have made inquiries into the recreational practice, and found an ‘alarming increase in serious neurological disorders associated with this practice’, and made an important statement.

Two significant risks are linked to this practice: the immediate risks (suffocation due to a lack of oxygen, loss of consciousness, higher risks of falling…) and the risks associated with regular or higher use such as damage to the central nervous system and spinal cord, psychological disorders and evensymptoms of anaemiathrough the deactivation of Bt12 vitamin receptors in the body.

Professionals have created a support group and service called Talk To Frankwhich people can call if they feel they have a problem with this, or any, substance.