The question I always see on social media is: What are those silver canisters I keep seeing discarded along the road?

These canisters previously contained ‘Nitrous oxide’, also called Laughing Gas, whippits, hippie crack, balloons or chargers

Although the canisters can be ordered online due to it’s use in cooking. The larger canisters are often stolen from hospitals.

But what are the effects of nitrous oxide? Well according to FRANK:

Nitrous oxide is depressant-type drug, which means it slows down your brain and your body’s responses.

The effects of nitrous oxide vary depending on how much has been inhaled but they include:

• Feelings of euphoria, relaxation and calmness.
• Dizziness, difficulty in thinking straight and fits of giggles/laughter.
• Sound distortions or even hallucinations.
• In some people, a headache can be an unwanted immediate effect.

It can be dangerous when taken with alcohol as it causes narcotic effects and can even cause a heart attack

One of the primary causes of harm after inhaling nitrous oxide is being inhibited by the drugs and either reviving physical injury due to falling down and hitting your head, also girls have been raped because of this

You can see more information about the effects on the video provided by DrugLab a educational show funded by the Dutch government:

So is Nitrous Oxide illegal?

As of 2016, nitrous oxide is covered by the Psychoactive Substances Act and is illegal to supply for its psychoactive effect

But Nitrous oxide is not illegal to possess, but this doesn’t mean that it is safe to use. It is illegal, in England and Wales, for anyone to sell nitrous oxide to people under-18, if they think they’re likely to be inhaling the nitrous oxide.

What is illegal is disgarding the gas canisters on the road and anyone who is seen doing this can be reported for littering and fly tipping.

The risks of Nitrous Oxide may include addiction, unconsciousness and even death from lack of oxygen and so the gas is not the risk free drug it’s often made out to be.

Have you seen Nitrous Oxide use around Havering? For help and for more information go to the Frank Website