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Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)

Advice - nitrous oxide (laughing gas)

Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas that is most commonly found in pressurised metal canisters. You may have seen these metal canisters lying around in streets particularly outside bars and nightclubs.

It is becoming increasingly popular with young people in the UK and is readily available to buy online. If someone takes too much nitrous oxide, they risk falling unconscious and/or suffocating from the lack of oxygen.

What does laughing gas do?

When it is inhaled, usually through a balloon, it can make people feel happy, relaxed, dizzy and lead to hallucinations. Taking several doses can prolong the dream-like effects. It is not a hallucinogen but there is often a distortion of audio and visual perceptions.

Young people may be more likely to try it after a few drinks and the dizzy feeling can increase the risk of people falling over and injuring themselves. This is a major risk of taking the drug.

Where to go for information

Take a look at the FRANK A-Z of drugs to make sure your knowledge is up-to-date and accurate.

The law

  • It is illegal to sell nitrous oxide to anyone under the age of 18.
  • It is illegal to supply for human consumption (penalty is 7 years in prison or unlimited fine)
  • It is not illegal to possess nitrous oxide.
West Berkshire