Nitrous oxide is an issue in my area, what should I discuss with my child?
- Discuss the situation: We need to be mindful of how children process the information they see around them. Ask have they seen the media interest, public discussions or people using in your community. Remind them that this doesn’t necessarily mean it is a ‘trend’ among young people or that “everyone is doing it”.
- How do they feel about it? Ask them how they feel about the recent media or local attention on the substance. What do they know about it and do they have any questions? If you can’t answer their question you could work together to find the answer – it’s ok not to know everything!i
- Why people might use it: For the effects it gives people to make them feel high or like they want to laugh or giggle
- Highlight the risks: All drug use, including nitrous oxide, has long and short term risks. The risks increase depending on how it is taken, how much and how often. We are still learning about the harms associated with nitrous oxide and young people.
- Ask how young people take it: You may be more concerned if people locally are using in risky ways. Using in more risky ways increases the dangers (using from the canister, with a bag over their head, filling a room with the substance from large canisters).
- Include other drugs: Remember to try and include the discussion as part of a wider conversation about drug use as other drugs may be of concern locally and not just nitrous oxide
- Tell them how you feel about this trend / let them know your care or concern.
Other points of interest...
- Although nitrous oxide may be seen as a ‘legal’ drug, remind young people that the person supplying it is ‘a dealer’ may have criminal connections
- The intoxicating effects of nitrous oxide are quite similar to those of alcohol. There are big differences though in the timing of effect when compared to alcohol. With nitrous oxide maximal intoxication will occur within seconds of inhaling the gas. Importantly intoxication wears off extremely fast also, over a matter of minutes.