September 25, 2020

Warning as Wicklow youths turn to laughing gas for ‘easy high’ as they emerge from lockdown

A Wicklow councillor has raised concerns about the increase in popularity of laughing gas as a recreational drug among local young Wicklow.

Sinn Féin Cllr Dermot ‘Daisy’ O’Brien spoke out after he received “numerous reports about extensive use” of laughing gas in communities across Wicklow.

Cllr O’Brien said: “As Covid-19 restrictions ease and people return to socialising we are receiving numerous reports of extensive use of this substance.

“Also known as ‘whippets’, Nitrous Oxide is a colourless gas found in pressurised metal canisters commonly used in the medical field and commercial industry (for example whipping cream) which means that it is legal and very easy to get your hands on. I have been told that you can get a dispenser online for under €40 and similarly a pack of 50 whippets canisters for €50.”

Cllr O’Brien said he was concerned that young people are getting excited about moving out of Covid restrictions, and that laughing gas “has become an easy option for people looking for a short term high”.

He added: “Many of us are aware of the occasions where someone inhales helium from a balloon to change their voice for a short period of time. Laughing gas is often consumed in the same way but with very different effects. This is not just another “good fun” outlet for people who are socialising.”

Local Sinn Fein TD John Brady called on the new Minister for Health, fellow Wicklow TD Stephen Donnelly, to “immediately start” an awareness programme on the dangers of using nitrous oxide as an inhalant.

He added: “There has been a spike in the number of discarded canisters of nitrous oxide in parks and public areas across Wicklow.”

“In May a 15-year-old youth from Tallaght sadly died at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin from what his parents believe was as a result of the side effects of taking the lethal drug.

“The Government must do more to warn people of the dangers of taking nitrous oxide. A national campaign warning of the dangers of the drug needs to be launched before more lives are lost.”

PHOTO: Stock image


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