Gardaí have noticed an increase in the use of nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, among young people in Dublin.
The gas, which induces a euphoric effect, is sold in small canisters for around €1 each. Larger canisters cost between €30 and €70.
The gas is often sold via social media and text messages, according to the Joint Police Committee’s report to Dublin City Council.
Some of the gas’s side effects include dizziness, disorientation, loss of balance, and in more severe cases, asphyxiation.
Prolonged exposure to nitrous oxide can cause memory loss, vitamin B12 deficiency, which can lead to brain and nerve damage, impaired balance and ringing in the ears.
The discarded canisters are also a significant source of waste, according to the report.
Nitrous oxide is not a controlled substance and simple possession is not a criminal offense.
Gardaí are working with the Department of Health, the HSE and the Health Products Regulatory Agency to study new and emerging trends in the use of the gas. However, due to its common use in both the medical and food industries, there are no plans to control the possession or sale of nitrous oxide.
There have also been ongoing problems in identifying nitrous oxide for law enforcement purposes, as Forensic Science Ireland (FSI) and the State Laboratory do not have the necessary tools to study the gas.
“Following ongoing collaboration between GNDOCB and the Director General of FSI, plans to develop and validate a test procedure that could be used to test nitrous oxide canisters are at an advanced stage, with a view to test cases from December 2022,” the statement said Report .
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/increase-in-use-of-laughing-gas-among-young-people-warn-gardai-42172304.html Increasing use of nitrous oxide among young people, gardaí warn