Sold in small spherical silver boxes and often inhaled with balloons, nitrous oxide, also known as “nitrous oxide,” gives users a brief sense of euphoria. Currently legally possessed but illegally supplied under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, the drug is believed to be used by more than half a million young people each year in England and Wales. In most cases, nitrous oxide is not considered dangerous, but there have been times when the drug has caused serious side effects to users, such as those mentioned above. Some unfortunate cases have resulted in brain damage or even death. The use of nitrous oxide can be dangerous if misused. Currently, nitrous oxide is only intended as a sedative in medical procedures, such as dental care. The Minister of the Interior has asked the ACMD to examine the damage caused by nitrous oxide following a worrying increase in consumption among young people. The MERC will no doubt undertake a thorough and thoughtful review of nitrous oxide damage in its recommendations to the Minister of the Interior, but it is then up to the Minister to decide how to respond to that advice. Given this ongoing public health crisis, is it fair that so many resources and effort are devoted to nitrous oxide? UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has vowed to take “tough action” against those who use nitrous oxide, also known as nitrous oxide, in their spare time, including the possibility of making possession of nitrous oxide a criminal offence.
Between 2001 and 2016, there were 36 nitrous oxide-related deaths in England and Wales, most of which were related to extreme suffocation rather than recreational use. In comparison, there were 13,500 heroin-related deaths during that period. Patel fears that legal euphoria could lead to anti-social behaviour and affect communities across the UK. Recently, Tower Hamlets City Council in east London threatened those involved in anti-social behaviour such as rubbish, vandalism, noise, etc., while drug use could be fined £100, the Guardian reported. Nitrous oxide triggers `epidemic` of hospitalized teens – as doctors warn of the dangers of nitrous oxide It may be reasonable to conclude that the focus on nitrous oxide is intended to appear “drugs” rather than addressing the serious harms of the drug. There are several ways to do this without toughening criminal penalties. Giant online retailers could actively remove offers. Food service providers could crack down on bulk purchases by limiting the number of nitrous oxide cans that can be purchased at one time and limiting sales to approved or registered buyers. As of 2019 [update], gas enjoys moderate popularity as a recreational drug in some countries. Nitrous oxide has the street names hippie-crack and whippets (or whippits).  In Australia and New Zealand, nitrous oxide lamps are known as Nangs, which can be derived from the sound distortion perceived by consumers.
  The use of nitrous oxide is currently still legal, although the ruling coalition is trying to include gas in the list of drugs prohibited by the Opium Act.   12. In June 2020, the proposal to include nitrous oxide in List II of the Opium Act was introduced in the online consultation, allowing the public to submit “ideas or suggestions” related to the ban. The government aims to bring the proposed ban into force on January 1, 2021.  In anticipation of the planned ban, approximately 90 municipalities have introduced local bans on the substance.  The Ministry of Interior asked the Independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to analyze the harm caused by nitrous oxide after the ministry described a “worrying” increase in consumption of the substance. However, if someone ingests too much nitrous oxide, they may lose consciousness and/or choke due to lack of oxygen. “The health risks to the vast majority of nitrous oxide users are very low,” said Harry Sumnall, professor of addiction at Liverpool`s John Moores University. The UK government`s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) examined the harms of nitrous oxide in 2015, stressing that this did not warrant control under the Substance Misuse Act 1971. Since 2015, there has been increased awareness and education about potential harms, but no new evidence has emerged that would necessarily warrant further review. The supply of nitrous oxide for recreational purposes is illegal; However, it is allowed to provide it for cooking and baking.
As a noxious substance, the supply of the substance for inhalation purposes can result in a two-year prison sentence.  It is not illegal to possess nitrous oxide in England and Wales – but that may soon change. UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has asked her scientific advisers to review the evidence of harm associated with its use. Similarly, in 2015, the chair of the advisory committee at the time, Professor Leslie Iversen, gave her opinion that nitrous oxide should remain legal, as deaths are incredibly rare and cause no side effects. The committee describes that nitrous oxide “triggers a brief period of euphoria, which may be accompanied by `tears of joy`. This appears to be due to a brief activation of opiate systems in the brain. From 1993 to 2016, only 30 death certificates in England and Wales mentioned nitrous oxide. Of these, 6 were in the 17-year period from 1993 to 2009 and 24 in the 7-year period from 2010 to 2016.  If harm reduction is the primary concern, then this is rarely achieved by drug laws. These often lead to the emergence of potentially more harmful substances, riskier consumption habits and a reluctance to seek help as users fear legal consequences.
There will also be difficult regulatory pathways as the hospitality industry faces significant new hurdles. This follows a package of new £148 million investments announced in January aimed at protecting people in the UK from the scourge of illicit drugs. The package included: Nitrous oxide was last reviewed by the ACMD six years ago, after the committee concluded that it did not warrant control under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The tightening of access to nitrous oxide in 2016 does not appear to have had an impact on demand, with nearly one in ten 16- to 24-year-olds reporting using nitrous oxide in 2019/2020. In this context, it may be understandable that the government wants to take a new path. This raises important questions about the purpose and function of drug laws. Nitrous oxide (street name hippie crack, whippets or whippits) is a gas that can cause euphoria, hallucinogenic states and relaxation when inhaled.  First recorded in the 18th century at upper-class “nitrous oxide festivals,” the experiment was largely limited to medical students until the late 20th century, when laws restricting access to gas were relaxed to serve dentists and hospitals. By the 2010s, nitrous oxide had become a moderately popular recreational drug in some countries.  Possession of nitrous oxide is legal in many countries, although some have criminalized recreational taxation. Inhalation of nitrous oxide for recreational purposes, with the aim of inducing euphoria or mild hallucinations, began in 1799 as a phenomenon for the British upper class, known as “nitrous oxide”.
 English chemist Humphry Davy offered the gas to revellers in a silk bag and documented its effects in his 1800 Research book, Chemical and Philosophical, which examined “nitrous oxide or diphlogized nitrous air and its respiration.”  Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge described the effect as “coming back from a walk in the snow in a warm room.”  The Home Secretary asked the Independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to examine the harm caused by nitrous oxide, known as nitrous oxide, after more than half a million young people reported taking the drug in 2019-2020. In 2019-20, 8.7% of 16- to 24-year-olds reported using nitrous oxide in the past 12 months, or about 549,000 people, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales. The supply of this drug for approved non-medical purposes is already illegal under the law introduced in 2016 under the Psychoactive Substances Act. The more well-known Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (the ABC classification system) introduced possession offences and gave increased powers to police and regulators. Opinions are divided on the criminalization of nitrous oxide owners. The drug charity Release believes that criminalizing people in possession will affect the future of young people by giving them criminal records “that will affect their employment and educational opportunities, which will seriously outweigh the harms of nitrous oxide.” The Interior Ministry said nitrous oxide brings “misery to communities” because of the chaos it causes on neighborhood streets and because of its ability to “cause serious long-term effects such as vitamin B12 deficiency and anaemia.” Still, many drug experts believe that the dangers of nitrous oxide have been exaggerated and that the review is a gimmick aimed at being harsh on drugs. The law banning legal highs was enacted to combat drug abuse and addiction. The release of nitrous oxide for recreational purposes is illegal under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016. This means that anyone who sells or gives nitrous oxide for illegal purposes is liable to up to 7 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.  The timing of Patel`s announcement may be related to recent public statements that the government is cracking down on recreational drug use,” Sumnall suggested. “Like cocaine powder, nitrous oxide is literally a very visible target in this case, and it`s understandable that many people are fed up with canister waste and what could be perceived as antisocial behavior.” If you have been arrested for possession of a psychoactive substance, seek legal advice immediately before answering questions or agreeing to anything.