RPS

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) is working with the parliamentarians in bid to end the misuse of nitrous oxide.

The pharmacy body is also trying to push the issue into parliament ahead of a debate on the issue at Westminster Hall on Tuesday (July 21).

RPS chief scientist Gino Martini has already been raising awareness on the dangers of the drug nitrous oxide in the media, highlighting the risks it poses to young people.

Also known as ‘laughing gas’, it is used illegally to achieve a brief high by slowing down responses in the brain and body.

Research shows that inhaling nitrous oxide depletes vitamin B12 and repeated use can damage nerves and even the spinal cord, leading to a loss of feeling and use in the limbs.

It is estimated that almost nine per cent of individuals aged between 16 and 24 have used the drug, which is the equivalent to over half a million young adults in England and Wales.

Levels of the use of nitrous oxide have not changed in the most recent survey year. In 2018, 2.3 per cent of adults aged 16 to 59 had used nitrous oxide (which is equivalent to 763,000 individuals in England and Wales), the findings from the 2018-19 Crime Survey for England and Wales on drug misuse has noted.

“This is similar to the previous year’s survey, when 2.2 per cent reported nitrous oxide use. As such, nitrous oxide use was the third most prevalent among adults aged 16 to 59 in the last year after cannabis (7.6 per cent) and cocaine (2.9 per cent),” the data showed.

There have been 36 deaths in Great Britain specifically associated with nitrous oxide between 2001 and 2016, data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has revealed.

Gino has been explaining the dangers of the drug across broadcast and print media.

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