Angelique Foster, Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner, has welcomed the ban on Nitrous Oxide, otherwise known as ‘laughing gas’.
Earlier today (5 September) the Government announced that Nitrous Oxide will be outlawed by the end of the year, categorised as a class C drug. While supply of Nitrous Oxide for recreational use is currently banned – possession is not. Today’s announcement means that in future users could face two years in prison and sellers up to 14 years.
Nitrous Oxide, the third most popular drug in the 16-24 age bracket, 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 known to have a serious impact in our communities. It is potentially a very dangerous substance.” said Commissioner Angelique Foster.
“The decision to make possession of this drug illegal is positive news for both our communities and those who may be tempted to use it. 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 a stronger stance to tackle the use of Nitrous Oxide specifically. In future, if you are caught using Nitrous Oxide you are facing a heavy fine or time in prison.
“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. Today’s announcement will strengthen that work.”
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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