The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has ordered an immediate crackdown on the illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas, following its abuse by recreational users.
The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the agency Mohammed Buba Marwa ordered all commands and formations of the agency to begin the crackdown on the substance with an immediate effect.
This was revealed in a statement by the Director of Media and Advocacy, at the NDLEA, Mr Femi Babafemi, on Tuesday.
According to the command, the decision to clampdown on those involved in the illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide follows the analysis of the effects on those who abuse the substance, which include: “dizziness; disorientation, headache; lightheadedness; fainting spells; hallucinations; falling unconscious and/or suffocating from lack of oxygen; and other neurological complications, especially psychiatric symptoms.”
Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas that is commonly used for sedation and pain relief. However, in recent times, it’s been used by people to feel intoxicated. They empty the gas into balloons and inhale it to create a feeling of happiness.
In a 2021 report, the agency revealed that over 40 percent of Nigerian youth between the ages of 18 and 35 were deeply involved in drug abuse. Some of the dangers associated with inhaling the gas includes brain damage and mental illness.