Misuse of nitrous oxide can lead to life-threatening risks, warns a leading neurologist.
The party drug, commonly known as laughing gas, is second only to cannabis as the most commonly abused substance among British 16- to 24-year-olds.
“I think it’s wrong to call it laughing gas because it seems like a joke,” said Dr David Nichol, Clinical Head of Neurology at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, Sky News. told to
“It’s a drug used as an anesthetic, but it uses 50% oxygen in a monitored environment with medical professionals who understand the dosage.
Acute exposure to gas can cause anemia and nerve damage, and is also associated with fertility problems.
Dr. Nicholl said misuse of the substance is now the most common cause of emergency admission to the neurology ward.
“People are hospitalized with their feet apart, have difficulty walking, tingling in their limbs, slurred speech and, in rare cases, seizures.
“I’ve spoken with an ophthalmologist colleague who saw a patient who went blind, and it was secondary to hypoxia caused by inhalation of nitrous oxide,” he warned.
He said he has seen some users using canisters weighing up to 3.9kg.
“One dose of this will kill you,” he said.
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Football coach Liam Cullen, 33, says he became addicted to nitrous oxide in his 20s.
“I could fly the balloon anywhere from 12 to 18 hours a day,” he told Sky News.
“It changed my personality. was not someone I liked to be around.”
“I can’t feel my feet”
Liam says he used 600 canisters a day and was in and out of hospitals seeking medical help.
“There were days when I couldn’t go to work because I had pins and needles. It was so painful. I had no feeling in my feet and I couldn’t feel my toes.”
New data from N2O Know The Risks, a research project led by Queen Mary University, shows that 91% of people have seen a nitrous oxide canister before, but never knew what it was. Only 41%.
Additionally, 97% of those surveyed said they were unaware that inhaling nitrous oxide could damage the spinal cord.