Laughing Gas To Be Banned By End Of The Year

( – The British government is set to ban laughing gas. Nitrous oxide, as it is formally known, will be categorized as a Class C narcotic, and possession will carry a prison term of two years. Laughing gas is a popular recreational drug in the UK, usually used by teenagers or young adults. Supplying small canisters of gas for recreational purposes is already a crime, but possession has been legal up to this point. There will be exemptions for use in cooking or as a painkiller by dentists or other medical professionals.

Laughing gas is the second most popular drug, behind cannabis, among 16- to 24-year-olds in England. It became increasingly popular during coronavirus lockdowns and has stayed prominent in teenage circles. One user described it as high. “You get a weird sense of detachment and giggles,” he said, adding that it only lasts for around 30 seconds. Medical experts say the effect comes at a high price.

The short-term impact includes headaches and anxiety, but more seriously, it can cause people to lose balance and fall over, and it has been known to result in bowel and bladder problems, potentially leading to incontinence.

Announcing the legal change, the UK’s Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, said people are “fed up with yobs abusing drugs in public spaces. She added that the government promised zero tolerance for drug use, which is what it intends to deliver.

However, a group of neurologists warned the government against the move. Dr. Alastair Noyce, Professor of Neurology and Neuroepidemiology, together with fifteen colleagues, wrote to the Policing Minister, saying criminalization would prevent young people from seeking medical help. “People may delay coming to the hospital until their symptoms are treatable. The net effect of that may be that they develop long-term harm,” the doctors wrote.

The new law will take effect by the end of 2023, and policing bodies have overwhelmingly reacted positively to the change.

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