WORRYING: Nitrous Oxide abuse on North East Beaches
A dangerous new trend is on the increase among teenagers socialising on the North East's beaches:
Nitrous Oxide, also known as "Laughing Gas" is a substance which is mixed with oxygen and inhaled to give a euphoric high.
It is a colourless, slightly sweet smelling gas. The canisters are highly pressurised, so the gas is usually transferred into a balloon, and inhaled from there.
Nitrous Oxide's legitimate use is in medial situations such as child birth - where it is used as an anesthetic. However, the dosage is closely controlled and patients are supervised by medical professionals.
Taking Nitrous Oxide can cause:
- Feelings of euphoria, relaxation and calmness
- Fits of giggles and laughter – hence the nickname ‘laughing gas’
- Sound distortions and hallucinations – when you see or hear things that aren't there
Nitrous oxide can also:
- Give you a severe headache
- Cause dizziness
- Stop you thinking straight
- Cause short-lived but intense feelings of paranoia
Long-term use of Nitrous Oxide can lead to a deficiency of vitamin B12 and to a form of anemia. 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 white blood cells from forming correctly.
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.
Abusers have been leaving behind the spent canisters and balloons on North Each beaches, creating an eyesoar, and potential long-term environmental problem if not removed.
On the Saturday 27th June, North East Beach Clean member Jonathan Boulton removed 236 canisters from a local beach - clearly indicating the size of the problem.
Petition to Ban Nitrous Oxide
There is currently a petition in place to try and ban sales of Nitrous Oxide to members of the general public.
At the time of writing, it is closely approaching 50,000 signatures
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