Nitrous Oxide, also known as laughing gas, ‘hippy crack’ or ‘nos’ has become the latest craze and popular drug for young people today... It’s usually inhaled through a balloon, and the affects include a feeling of relaxation, euphoria and fits of laughter (hence it’s name) and often it’s taken at parties or in groups of people. Tons and tons of my friends have inhaled the gas at some point, and because it’s easy to get your hands on (legal to buy over 18) but still induces similar calming affects as smoking or alcohol can, and even ‘an intense feeling of euphoria… likened to taking a ‘snort’ of cocaine’, it is the perfect party favor.
I remember the first time I heard about ‘nos’ I had no idea what it was or if it was dangerous, so I asked some of my friends if it had health risks, what it actually does to the body, and they were under the impression it didn’t have any – all it did was make you a little ‘giggly and chilled’. To almost any teenager, that does sound pretty appealing, but there’s a lot more going on than most young people want to know.
I recently read an article on the BBC about a young man who had died after inhaling nitrous oxide at a party in London – I was pretty shocked, because at the time I had looked a little into the drug but didn’t realiSe the risks could be fatal. Immediately I told some of my friends who I knew took the drug – sending them screenshots of the article, and telling them to be careful, and it was brought to my attention just how little they knew about how harmful the gas could actually be.
So what are the risks? I did a little research, and wanted to put my findings on this site to raise a little awareness of just how laughing gas can leave you in a state quite far from ‘laughable’.
THE IMMEDIATE RISKS
- Affects your judgement
- Loss of consciousness
MORE SERIOUS, LONG TERM RISKS
- Unconsciousness, strokes, seizures, heart attacks and/or death from lack of oxygen
- Vitamin B12 deficiency & nerve damage
- Regular use can result in Anaemia
- Tingling and numbness in the fingers and toes (regular use)
- Formation of white blood cells depressed
- Heavy, regular use can result in Vitamin B deficiency, potentially causing serious nerve damage, which leads to tingling and numbness in the fingers, toes and other extremities, and even difficulties with walking.
There is a higher risk of all of the above when the drug is taken alongside alcohol, which is particularly worrying considering how commonly it’s used in parties and clubs.
In 2013, 460,000 people aged 16 to 24 used nitrous oxide in the UK, which is a HUGE amount of young people… The only drug that is used more on record is cannabis. Personally I’ve only heard about the gas in the last year, so I have no doubt those statistics are on the rise.
We are taught in school about the affects of alcohol, smoking, cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and a whole list of other drugs – but not nitrous oxide. Youth are inhaling it blindly; without knowing exactly what the affects are, and just how harmful it can actually be.
It is dangerous – spread and share the word.
Recent news articles, videos, blogs etc. about young people and teenagers. It's amazing how much we don't know about what's going on for youth worldwide... This page will help you find out more about your age group or what people your age are making/writing.