By Emmanuel Adeleke
The chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig Gen Mohammed Marwa (Rtd), has directed all commands and formations of the agency to commence an immediate clampdown on the illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas, following its abuse by people who use it for recreational purposes.
The agency’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi, disclosed this in a statement, on Tuesday.
According to Babafemi, the decision to clampdown on those involved in the illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide follows an analysis of the effects on those who abuse the substance, which include dizziness, headache, light headedness, hallucinations, falling unconscious, disorientation, fainting spells, suffocating from lack of oxygen and other neurological complications, especially psychiatric symptoms.
The agency, however, urged parents, guardians and other stakeholders to be vigilant, alert and warn their young ones against attempting to experiment with or abuse the substance, which poses threats to their mental and overall well-being.
Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas that is commonly used for sedation and pain relief, more often by dentists and medical professionals to sedate patients undergoing minor medical procedures.
Popularly known laughing gas, nitrous oxide is fast emerging as a drug in demand in Nigeria by young party-goers or fun-seekers to feel intoxicated or high.
The gas is often transferred from its containers into balloons, from where it is inhaled for euphoric effects.