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The Scourge of Nitrous Oxide

By Parish Clerk Wilmington Parish Council

Saturday, 26 August 2023


Wilmington Parish Council Contributor


The Parish Council is concerned to see that the scourge of discarded nitous oxide cannisters is once again blighting our streets.

Not only is this affecting our neighbourhoods but the inhaling could have an immediate or long term effect on the health and future life-style of those inhaling what is incorrectly perceived to be harmless 'laughing gas'.

Whilst the initial inhalation of nitrous oxide (known as chargers, hippie crack, noz or whippits) may cause a state of temporary euphoria it may also cause a numbness of the body, giddiness, blurred vision, confusion, sweating and even sudden death. Apart from the latter, from which there is no recovery, these effects can last for anything up to 40 minutes.

If a large amount of nitrous oxide is inhaled over a short period it can produce a loss of blood pressure, fainting, unsteady gait or heart attack; it can also be fatal if insufficient oxygen is breathed in.

The effects of prolonged use of nitrous oxide may include memory loss, vitamin B12 deficiency (which can lead to brain and spinal cord damage), anaemia, incontinence, weakened immune system, limb spasms, disruption to reproductive systems, depression, psychological dependence and psychosis.

In addition to all of the above it could and often does lead a user toward harder and even more dangerous drugs.

The important message is that using nitrous oxide is NOT harmless as it can lead to some very serious health and life-style issues.

If you inhale nitrous oxide, or you know someone who does, PLEASE be aware, or make them aware, of the consequences.

The Law - Non-legitimate use of nitrous oxide is currently controlled under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016. This means the production, supply and importation but not possession (apart from custodial settings) of nitrous oxide for its psychoactive effects is illegal. Under the Act it is an offence to supply nitrous oxide if a person knows, or is reckless as to whether, it will be used for its psychoactive effects.

Nitrous oxide is not currently controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 although the Government has this under review.

Contact Information

Parish Clerk

  • 01322 221149

Find Wilmington Parish Council

Oakfield Park Pavilion, The Spires, Wilmington, Dartford, Kent, DA1 2TD