Kent Police
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Nitrous oxide canisters

Good Afternoon.

We have been seeing the smaller silver nitrous oxide canisters for a couple of years now. Over the past month officers have been seeing bigger blue nitrous oxide canisters being dumped. This is concerning as young people do not seem to recognise nitrous oxide as an potentially harmful drug. As it is used in catering it can be reasonably easy to get hold of.

It is very dangerous to inhale nitrous oxide directly from the canister, and doing it in an enclosed space is also very dangerous.

If you take too much nitrous oxide you risk falling unconscious and/or suffocating from the lack of oxygen. People have died this way.

Other risks include:

  • Dizziness, which might make you act carelessly or dangerously.
  • Heavy regular use of nitrous oxide can lead to a deficiency of vitamin B12 and to a form of anaemia. Severe B12 deficiency can lead to serious nerve damage, causing tingling and numbness in the fingers and toes. This can be very painful and make walking difficult.
  • Regular use can stop you forming white blood cells properly.
  • It can be hard to judge the amount to use safely. If you have too much you can end up fainting, having an accident or worse.
  • If you think that any young people in your care or anyone you know is using nitrous oxide please make them aware of the dangers

    As of 2016, nitrous oxide is covered by the Psychoactive Substances Act and is illegal to supply for its psychoactive effect.


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    Message Sent By
    Sean Humphrey
    (Police, PCSO, Medway Community Safety Unit)

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