Police have issued a warning to parents after a number of Nitrous Oxide canisters were found in Swanmore.
“These were located in Swanmore in an area where young people regularly meet up with friends,” said a spokesperson for Hampshire Police.
“It is dangerous to inhale and you risk falling unconscious or suffocating from the lack of oxygen.”
Nitrous Oxide canisters or ‘laughing gas’ as it is more commonly known as, are a common sight in recreational areas frequented by younger people, distinctive because of their small, silver canister appearance, and are usually found in clusters, due to the nature of their usage by groups.
Freely available from online retailers the canisters are activated with a ‘cracker’ or ‘whipper’, usually used for whipped cream dispensing. A balloon is attached to the outlet pipe which, when the canister is activated by a lever on the ‘cracker’, the gas from the canister fills the balloon, the user then inhales this gas via the balloon.
Drugs advice website Talk to FRANK says “Nitrous Oxide slows down your brain and your body’s responses, and the effects of the drug varies depending on how much has been inhaled.”
The website lists feelings of euphoria, relaxation and calmness in its effects. Along with other effects including fits of giggles and laughter. Sound distortions and hallucinations are sometimes experienced by users.
However, it also states how Nitrous Oxide can cause severe headaches, dizziness, prevent clarity of thought and also lead to short-lived but intense paranoia.
According to the website, “heavy regular use of nitrous oxide can lead to a deficiency of vitamin B12 and to a form of anaemia”.
Nitrous Oxide filled balloons are widely available outside of nightclubs, often costing around £2 for a balloon which contains a canister worth of Nitrous Oxide.