Will ‘hippie crack’ finally be banned? Priti Patel Orders Review of Easy-to-Buy Deadly Drug
- Laughing gas could be made illegal after Priti ordered Patel to review it
- Laughing gas is the second most used drug by people aged 16-24
- Patel has asked the Advisory Council on Drug Abuse (ACMD) to assess the harm caused by the drug
Nitrous oxide — also known as “hippie crack” — could be made illegal after Priti Patel asked experts to conduct a review.
Laughing gas has become the second most commonly used drug among the 16-24 age group.
The silver jerry cans in which the gas is sold are scattered on the streets of towns and cities across the country.
And amid mounting concerns, the Home Secretary has asked the Advisory Council on Drug Abuse (ACMD) to assess the harm caused by the drug.
Tanya Callaghan, 31, (pictured) stabbed a kitchen knife in her heart after she inhaled the gas and argued with friend Deseree Fitzpatrick. The hearing, in Manchester, was told how the couple had been drinking with friends and taking the drug in May last year
The committee of experts has also been asked to consider whether the possession of nitrous oxide should be made illegal by bringing it under anti-drug legislation for the first time.
Currently, the gas is legally available to commercial caterers to use in whipped cream dispensers and other applications.
However, the gas, which is easily available online, often ends up in the hands of young people as a recreational drug.
One in 11 people aged 16 to 24 said they had used nitrous oxide in 2019-20, according to the Crime Survey of England and Wales, equivalent to 549,000 people.
Overuse can lead to suffocation and even death. While long-term use can cause anemia and vitamin B12 deficiency.
One in 11 people aged 16 to 24 said they had used nitrous oxide in 2019-20, according to the Crime Survey of England and Wales, equivalent to 549,000 people
Miss Patel said: ‘Drug abuse can have a devastating impact on lives and communities – we are committed to doing everything we can to tackle this problem and protect the future of our children and young people.
“Should the ACMD expert recommend further restrictions on this drug, we are ready to take tough action.” The sale of nitrous oxide for its psychoactive effects was made illegal in 2016, but it is currently not a crime to be caught possessing the drug.
The ACMD last considered nitrous oxide in 2015 when it ruled it should not fall under the Drug Abuse Act. Users fill balloons with nitrous oxide from the jerry cans. Inhaling leads to euphoria and hallucinations and can cause giggling.
But there can be deadly consequences. Last month, an inquest heard a receptionist stabbing herself to death after taking the drug at a party.
Tanya Callaghan, 31, stabbed a kitchen knife in her heart after inhaling the gas and arguing with friend Deseree Fitzpatrick.
The hearing, in Manchester, was told how the couple had been drinking with friends and taking the drug in May last year.
Nitrous oxide – also known as ‘hippie crack’ – could be made illegal after Priti Patel asked experts to conduct a review
Partygoer Niamh McLoughlin said: ‘It was as if Tanya didn’t know what she’d done to herself, she looked confused. She stumbled across the kitchen and the color drained from her face and she collapsed.’
In an earlier case, a mother also warned teenagers about the dangers of nitrous oxide after the sudden death of her “hardworking and kind” son.
Rory Wai, 18, from Wivenhoe, Essex, was found in his bed by his brother days before he was due to receive his A-level results in 2019.
An inquest found that while the exact cause of his death was unclear, the most likely use was nitrous oxide.
Mother Sally Anderson-Wai said at the time of the study, “We hope this can act as a deterrent to young people… experimenting with nitrous oxide. People think nitrous oxide is okay, but it isn’t.’