Skip Navigation

Nitrous Oxide Laughing Gas

In January 2020, The HSE warned young people through the mainstream media of the risks associated with using Nitrous Oxide 'laughing gas' due to an increase in use within communities and at music festivals in 2019. 

Soon to be published data from a survey by the HSE and Trinity College Dublin in relation to drug trends last summer at music festivals indicates that over a quarter of respondents had used Nitrous Oxide.

Nitrous Oxide is a depressant/dissociative/inhalant type drug and is also know as Laughing Gas, Whippets (cartridges of nitrous oxide), Whippit, Chargers, Bulbs, NoS, N2O, balloons, 'hippie crack'

Nitrous Oxide is a gas that has a number of industrial uses and is used clinically as an anaesthetic gas for pain-relieving properties when mixed with air.

It is a colourless gas that some say is slightly sweet smelling and tasting. It can be found in different forms such as whipped cream chargers ‘whippets’ which are small silver cartridges. It can also come as crackers with balloons attached or as balloons that have been filled with the gas.

It is inhaled, sometimes referred to as ‘nagging’

 

There are always risks with drugs, it is safer not to use.

It is important to note that each person will react differently to a substance. Effects can be based on a number of factors depending on; how much is taken and the dose which sometimes can be unknown, personal factors such as the persons seize and mental health, if the person has consumed the substance before and if other drugs, alcohol or prescription medication are used at the same time. 

Effects

Below are common effects that a person may feel:

Long term effects

Other known risks

Withdrawal

Nitrous oxide is could be used in a compulsive way. However, there are no significant withdrawal symptoms known at present other than the desire to use more nitrous oxide.

Dependence

Currently there are no reports of nitrous oxide dependence in the literature. There is anecdotal evidence of psychological dependence.

We continue to monitor this substance and the known risks.

Educating young people

Parents play an important role in educating young people of the risks asscociated with drug and alcohol use. To help parents discuss substance use, the HSE produced a booklet to help guide the conversation. Download HSE Parents Guide here. Get the facts and reduce the harms. 

HSE warning to young people in January 2020

HSE warns young people of dangers of laughing gas

‘It can cause death by suffocation’ — HSE warn young people against using ‘hippy crack’

HSE warns festival-goers about dangers of 'laughing gas

Festival-goers 'risk death' by using laughing gas, warns HSE

HSE warns that inhaling laughing gas recreationally is 'an emerging issue among Irish festival-goers'

Resources

For harm reduction information download Drug Watch information sheet Nitrous Oxide

Professionals and Clinicans please see the Neptune Clinical Guidelines

Authors: HSE National Social Inclusion Office.

Contact: drugs.ie@hse.ie or nicki.killeen@hse.ie 

Posted by drugs.ie on 06/03 at 09:59 AM in
Share this:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • LinkedIn
  • E-mail

Comments

Name:

Email:

URL:

Comments:

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

The HSE and Union of Students in Ireland (USI) ask students to think about drug safety measures when using club drugs
Harm reduction messages from the #SaferStudentNights campaign.
Poll Poll

Have you ever been impacted negatively by someone else's drug taking?

NewslettereBulletin