Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd), has directed all commands and formations of the agency to clamp down on illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide, otherwise known as ‘laughing gas’, following its abuse by persons using it for recreational purposes.
Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas commonly used for sedation and pain relief, more often, by dentists and medical professionals to sedate patients undergoing minor medical procedures.
It is fast emerging as a drug in demand by young partygoers or fun lovers seeking to feel intoxicated or ‘high’. The gas is often transferred from its containers into balloons, from where it’s inhaled for euphoric effects.
NDLEA spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, in a statement, yesterday, said the decision to clampdown on persons involved in illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide, followed analysis of effects on abusers.
These include: dizziness, disorientation, headache, lightheadedness, fainting spells, hallucinations, falling unconscious and/or suffocating from lack of oxygen, and other neurological complications, especially psychiatric symptoms.
The agency said, pending when other measures are taken in consultation with other stakeholders, especially Federal Ministry of Health, to curb the menace, it will not hesitate to wield the big stick against anyone, no matter his or her social status, involved in illegal sale or use of nitrous oxide, in the overall interest of public health.
The agency also urged parents, guardians and other stakeholders to be vigilant and warn young ones against experimenting with or abusing the substance, which poses threats to mental and overall wellbeing.