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Nitrous oxide warning as used canisters are found

States of Jersey Police and the Alcohol and Drug Service are working together to ask parents and young people in the Island to be aware of the dangers of a gas called nitrous oxide.

The gas is believed to be being used by a small number of people in the Island and can be very dangerous. Eight deaths linked to the inhalation of nitrous oxide have already happened in the UK, the latest being a 23 year old man earlier this month who had placed a bag over his head to increase the intensity of the fumes he was inhaling.

Nitrous oxide is a gas which can be commonly found in small, silver bullet shaped tubes known as chargers which are used in some catering products including tubes of whipped cream. The tiny canisters are often used to compress liquid cream into the whipped version.

The chargers have been found in two places in Jersey in the last few weeks. One set was found by the Honorary Police.

The nitrous oxide within the charger cylinders can be inhaled and subsequently enter into the lungs. Deaths have occurred by the abuser under certain circumstances after inhaling the gas.

Det con Andy Gibaut of States of Jersey Police said: ˜At this time, we are just issuing a warning about the dangers of nitrous oxide. We do not believe it is used widely but we do need to let people, in particular parents, know about it and be vigilant. We would ask any member of the public who finds the small silver chargers anywhere in Jersey to let the Police or the Honorary Police know so that they can be collected.'

Mr Michael Gafoor, Director of the Alcohol and Drug Service added: ˜Although the inhalation of nitrous oxide is being practiced by a relatively small number of young people in Jersey at present, it is nonetheless a worrying development given that there have been deaths linked to this drug.

˜There are also reports of long term damage to the brain and bone marrow so nitrous oxide must not be regarded as an innocuous substance and users should be aware of the potential risks they are taking by using this substance. If someone is found in an unconscious state from inhaling the fumes of nitrous oxide, they should be kept on their side and the ambulance called immediately."

 

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