From today (8 November), possession of nitrous oxide, also known as ‘laughing gas’, is illegal with repeat serious users facing up to two years in prison and dealers up to 14 years.
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, commends the decision to ban the possession of nitrous oxide as a significant step towards safeguarding communities and protecting the health and well-being of South Yorkshire’s residents.
Commenting on the ban, Dr Billings said: “Nitrous oxide, once primarily used in medical and dental procedures, has gained popularity as a recreational drug in recent years. The ban on its possession is a crucial measure to address the growing concerns surrounding its misuse and the associated anti-social behaviour.
“The ban will empower police officers to take immediate action against those found in possession of nitrous oxide, deterring its use and distribution. In turn, this will hopefully disrupt the supply chain and dismantle criminal networks involved in the illegal trade of this substance.
“People often contact me about the way discarded nitrous oxide canisters disfigure their communities. Hopefully we will see an end to this as well.”
Heavy, regular abuse of the drug poses significant health risks for users including anaemia and in more severe cases, nerve damage or paralysis. It has been identified as having potentially fatal consequences on the UK’s roads from incidents of drug driving.