The Netherlands will ban laughing gas

The Netherlands will ban laughing gas
The Netherlands will ban laughing gas
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From January 2023 in the Netherlands it will be forbidden to buy, sell or possess nitrous oxide, which is also known as “laughing gas” and in addition to being a potent greenhouse gas it is used as a drug. Indeed, the Dutch government is concerned by the recent increase in the consumption of this substance due to its psychoactive effects, especially among young people. However, nitrous oxide will still be able to continue to be used in medicine and in the food industry.

Nitrous oxide (No2Or, or more correctly “nitrogen oxide”) is a gas that has been used since the eighteenth century as an anesthetic, but also for the sense of euphoria it induces if it is inhaled. It is generally sold in small cans and is used, among other things, as an anesthetic in hospitals and dental offices and, in the food industry, in whipped cream packages. Usually those who inhale it to obtain the psychoactive effects first pour it into inflatable balloons.

The problem is that there are various concerns about recurrent recreational use of laughing gas, especially the effects it may have on the nervous system, speech, balance and blood oxygen concentration.

According to an analysis carried out by the Dutch Trimbos Institute in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam in 2017, more than 37 percent of people who go to Dutch nightclubs use it, especially the younger ones, and consumption has also increased among the teenagers. In addition, according to official Dutch police data collected by the national TV NOS, in the last three years its consumption has been linked to about 1,800 road accidents in various parts of the country, almost two a day, including 63 fatalities. Furthermore, laughing gas is often consumed in conjunction with other drugs, such as MDMA (ecstasy) or ketamine, which can create further complications.

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Several local governments in the Netherlands had recently introduced regulations to ban the consumption of laughing gas in public. Now Dutch Justice Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz has said that the goal of the ban will be to limit the use of recreational drugs, as well as their availability.

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In general, compared to other drugs, nitrous oxide is much less used, both in Europe in general and in Italy. Usually in the statistics on the consumption of psychoactive substances it is considered among the so-called “inhalants”.

– Read also: We need to take laughing gas seriously

The article is in Italian

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