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South Middlesex Foundation:

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Drug Information

This section of our website contains health and safety information pertaining to some of the more commonly used recreational drugs. The first page in each drug section presents simple, basic facts explaining what the drug is, its effects, the main risks of using it, and the most important health and safety information for reducing the risks and harms associated with it.

          Cannabis               Cocaine                 Ecstasy                 Meth

          Ketamine               Steriods                GHB                     Mushrooms

          
Nitrous Oxide        LSD                      2C-B                     Herion

          
Oxycontin             Alcohol                 Tobacco               Inhalants

  

NITROUS OXIDE

WHAT IS NITROUS OXIDE?

  

  • Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) is a gas that has been safely used as a mild anesthetic in combination with oxygen for over a century.
  • It is classified as a "dissociative anaesthetic."
  • Nitrous is legally available for over-the-counter sale, although in many states it is illegal to sell nitrous to a minor. Some states also have laws against inhaling nitrous for intoxication purposes.
  • Nitrous is most commonly sold in small canisters for use in making whipped cream ("whippits"), although it can also be purchased in large tanks.


WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS?

  

  • A lungful of nitrous oxide results in the temporary loss of motor control and a "dissociative" psychological effect, where sensations and perceptions become disconnected.
  • Users report a dreamy mental state, and may experience mild audio and visual hallucinations.
  • The effects come on immediately and usually last less than a minute. Repeated inhalations of nitrous can extend and intensify the experience.


DANGERS!

  

  • Nitrous produces an immediate loss of motor control. Stay seated if you are going to inhale nitrous. There have been many injuries and a few deaths from people who have fallen down after inhaling nitrous.
  • Your brain needs oxygen! Brain damage and suffocation can result from inhaling pure nitrous for an extended period of time.
  • Nitrous can be extremely cold when it comes out of the tank. Cold gas can burn the skin as well as the lips and throat. Dispensing the gas into a balloon and allowing it to warm up before inhaling it can reduce this risk.
  • High pressure levels in the tank can shoot the gas out at a dangerously fast speed and damage the lungs. Again, it is safer to inhale from a balloon than from a tank.
  • Nitrous can be psychologically addictive. While rare, many people have become addicted to nitrous and other dissociatives.
  • The regular use of nitrous can cause long-lasting numbness in the extremities and other neurological problems.