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Nitrous oxide is ‘no laughing matter’

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A safety campaign is encouraging people to report nitrous oxide canisters and highlights the dangers of using the substance.

Dudley Council is working alongside West Midlands Police to raise awareness of the dangers linked to taking the psychoactive drug, which is commonly known as laughing gas, nos, whippits or hippie crack chargers.

It’s a colourless gas that people inhale, usually through a balloon from a pressurised metal canister.

It can have a devastating effect. It can slow down a person’s brain and body’s responses. If too much is inhaled it can lead to unconsciousness and/or suffocating from a lack of oxygen. It can be fatal.

These canisters are increasingly found in parks and open spaces and places where young people particularly are known to congregate.

The campaign aims to encourage people to report places where this kind of activity is taking place so authorities can respond.

Councillor Laura Taylor, cabinet member responsible for community safety, said:

The increased use of nitrous oxide within our communities is a huge concern, we really need residents to help us by reporting where they see canisters so we can identify and tackle problem areas.
It’s so important that those using this substance, which we believe is mostly young people, understand the risk they are taking.
We need to help them realise that it’s ok to say no to drugs.

People can report canisters or those illegally selling nitrous oxide online at www.dudley.gov.uk or by calling Dudley Council Plus on 0300 555 2345.

Support can be found at www.talktofrank.com. Adults can get support from Atlantic Recovery Centre on 01384 426120 and young people from Hear4 YOUth on 01384 241440.

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