Northamptonshire in laughing gas ‘epidemic’ says charity

Laughing gas (Picture: Shutterstock)
Laughing gas (Picture: Shutterstock)

Potentially-lethal laughing gas is still being widely used by young people in Northamptonshire two years on from a law banning its sale for psychoactive purposes, a drugs charity has said.

Legislation introduced in 2016 prohibited the sale of the gas called nitrous oxide and commonly referred to as ‘noz’.

But former north-west of England chief crown prosecutor Nazir Afzal has said the law has been failing to stop supply.

Catherine Maryon, chairman of trustees of Ringstead-based drugs charity Solve It, said: "Nitrous oxide is easy to get and unfortunately the 2016 law has been shown to be ambiguous.

"We know young people use it without necessarily knowing there are dangers, which is why our work is focusing on safety and helping people make informed decisions."

Earlier this year, Mrs Maryon said there was an "experimenting epidemic" among young people today.

Nitrous oxide use has been linked to five deaths last year, according to official statistics, and is the second most popular recreational drug after cannabis in England and Wales.

Solve It is the only charity based in Northamptonshire which provides education about, and raises awareness of, the dangers of abusing solvents such as aerosols, gases and glue and NPS, often mistakenly referred to as ‘legal highs’.

The charity has been providing young people, parents, carers, partners and professionals with preventive education and advice about the risks and dangers of solvent abuse, NPS and nitrous oxide for almost 30 years.