Following the illegalisation of nitrous oxide this week, Angelique Foster, Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner said, Derbyshire communities would see a reduction in the anti-social behaviour and litter associated with the drug’s use.
Nitrous Oxide, otherwise known as ‘laughing gas’, is now categorised as a Class C Drug. This means that users could face two years in prison and those selling the drug up could receive a sentence of 14 years.
“This change in the law will ensure police officers can respond more effectively to community concerns about the use of nitrous oxide in public spaces,” said Commissioner Angelique Foster. “I fully support robust enforcement of this change in the law as it sends a clear message to both users and dealers that we have a zero-tolerance approach to this drug.
“The public have made it clear that they are concerned about the impact of ‘laughing gas’ on anti-social behaviour and the risks to those who use it.
“I know that many residents are fed up with anti-social behaviour and the damage it causes. They will welcome the boost this gives to the police as they tackle the use of Nitrous Oxide.
“This is another proactive move that will help to drive down anti-social behaviour in our communities. In Derbyshire we are already seeing additional patrols in hotspot area as part of a zero-tolerance approach to the problem. This change in the law will strengthen that work.”
Nitrous Oxide has been proven harmful to the health of young people. The move to make it an illegal substance is designed to deter young people from using the substance and consequentially reduce anti-social behaviour.
Nitrous Oxide is the third most used drug among 16 to 24-year-olds in England and police have reported links to anti-social behaviour – intimidating gatherings on high streets and in children’s parks, and empty canisters strewn across public spaces. Heavy regular use of Nitrous Oxide can also lead to a deficiency of vitamin B12, a form of anaemia and in more severe cases, nerve damage or paralysis.
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