Watford police crack down on recreational use of 'laughing gas' in town pubs and clubs

Watford police crack down on recreational use of 'laughing gas' in town pubs and clubs

Watford police crack down on recreational use of 'laughing gas' in town pubs and clubs

First published in News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

An increase in the use of so-called "laughing gas" as a recreational party drug has prompted police in Watford to initiate a zero tolerance policy in town pubs and clubs.

Nitrous oxide gas, which is legal and mostly used in medicine, has become popular because of its relaxing effects.

But new health warnings say abuse of laughing gas can have a number of dangerous consequences, including heart attacks and poisoning of the central nervous system.

The gas, which is inhaled by users in a balloon, has been linked to a number of deaths across the country.

Hertfordshire Constabulary is taking steps to deter the recreational use of laughing gas after a large haul of canisters was found in the county last week.

In Watford, officers are working with youths, pubs and nightclubs to ensure that those who have inhaled it are not allowed entrance to any bar or club in the town.

The police are working with the Local Government Association, which put out the health warning this week, in a bid to put additional preventative measures into effect.

The LGA warning said regular intake of the chemical can lead to oxygen deprivation, which can result in loss of blood pressure, fainting and even heart attacks.

It also warns that prolonged exposure can cause anaemia, bone marrow suppression and poisoning of the central nervous system.

Hannah Georgiou, spokeswoman for Hertfordshire Constabulary, said: "Nitrous oxide, a chemical gas, is being used increasingly as a cheap and recreational drug. While nitrous oxide is not a dangerous substance if used correctly, it can become addictive. 

"The gas is usually used for medical purposes and is always given with oxygen or air under supervision. In the wrong hands and taken incorrectly, the user may risk injury, or even death, from lack of oxygen.

"The gas can also affect a person’s judgement and cause dizziness so increasing the likelihood of having an accident.

"It is particularly dangerous to pregnant women and when used on a long term basis, can lead to a number of health issues, including incontinence and nerve damage through depletion of B vitamins. It is illegal to sell it to children."

Councillor Katie Hall, chairman of the LGA's Community Wellbeing Board, said: "It is deeply disturbing that this drug, which can be highly dangerous, is still widely viewed as safe.

"It is imperative that users understand just how harmful it can be. This gas can kill - and much more needs to be done to get this message across."

For more information visit the Talk to Frank website: http://www.talktofrank.com/drug/nitrous-oxide.

If people are worried about their use of Nitrous Oxide or other drugs they can also contact the Adolescent Drug & Alcohol Service for Hertfordshire (A-DASH) for advice and help. Phone 01992 531917 or text 07770 537227.

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

4:57pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Wacko Jacko says...

Looks like the Police will have the last laugh
Looks like the Police will have the last laugh Wacko Jacko
  • Score: 6

5:24pm Wed 13 Aug 14

makingstars says...

PEOPLE HAVING A GOOD TIME!? LAUGHING!? PEOPLE LOVING EACH OTHER!? ... BAN IT! .... AND BAN OXYGEN TOO, AS IT'S OBVIOUSLY BEEN MIXED WITH ALL DIFFERENT KINDS OF THINGS!
PEOPLE HAVING A GOOD TIME!? LAUGHING!? PEOPLE LOVING EACH OTHER!? ... BAN IT! .... AND BAN OXYGEN TOO, AS IT'S OBVIOUSLY BEEN MIXED WITH ALL DIFFERENT KINDS OF THINGS! makingstars
  • Score: 0

6:29pm Wed 13 Aug 14

makingstars says...

... HOW DARE PEOPLE RELAX...
... HOW DARE PEOPLE RELAX... makingstars
  • Score: -1

7:17pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

If it is not illegal in any way, how can the police take action against people using it? On what grounds?

I'm not in favour of its recreational use, but surely the police are there to uphold the law, not the advice of medical panels or the LGA.

What next, stopping people eating butter in cafe's because several years ago there was a health concern about it (since largely reversed)?

The police have a proper job to do, they should get on with doing it. If they want to make this gas illegal for recreational use, they need to go through the due process of getting it into law. They can't make up laws as they go along. (That's the EU's job).
If it is not illegal in any way, how can the police take action against people using it? On what grounds? I'm not in favour of its recreational use, but surely the police are there to uphold the law, not the advice of medical panels or the LGA. What next, stopping people eating butter in cafe's because several years ago there was a health concern about it (since largely reversed)? The police have a proper job to do, they should get on with doing it. If they want to make this gas illegal for recreational use, they need to go through the due process of getting it into law. They can't make up laws as they go along. (That's the EU's job). Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: 12

7:20pm Wed 13 Aug 14

S/O man says...

But you can go to a Costcutter etc or Watford market and buy poppers over the counter, i've complained so much to the police but all i get is the police saying they are legal as they are being sold as room odourisers, lets face facts please Hertfordshire Constabulary, nobody uses poppers as a room odouriser, poppers have a longer effect than Nitrous oxide and a lot more dangerous, Hertfordshire Constabulary, what a bunch you are.
But you can go to a Costcutter etc or Watford market and buy poppers over the counter, i've complained so much to the police but all i get is the police saying they are legal as they are being sold as room odourisers, lets face facts please Hertfordshire Constabulary, nobody uses poppers as a room odouriser, poppers have a longer effect than Nitrous oxide and a lot more dangerous, Hertfordshire Constabulary, what a bunch you are. S/O man
  • Score: 2

11:00pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Stella Art says...

"It is particularly dangerous to pregnant women!" Is Nitrous oxide not used as an anaesthetic in child birth, although in controlled conditions? And also in many other ways of relieving pain at a hospital?
"It is particularly dangerous to pregnant women!" Is Nitrous oxide not used as an anaesthetic in child birth, although in controlled conditions? And also in many other ways of relieving pain at a hospital? Stella Art
  • Score: 6

8:10am Thu 14 Aug 14

cgpc Rob says...

Pregnant women, smoke, drink, which they advised not to do.

Drive a vehicle without tax, police impound, why not make the law anyone caught using their mobile etc, is stopped, has vehicle impounded, and police drop the driver to the nearest bus stop.

Make the law it's illegal to use, which I doubt would get through.
Pregnant women, smoke, drink, which they advised not to do. Drive a vehicle without tax, police impound, why not make the law anyone caught using their mobile etc, is stopped, has vehicle impounded, and police drop the driver to the nearest bus stop. Make the law it's illegal to use, which I doubt would get through. cgpc Rob
  • Score: 2

2:42pm Thu 14 Aug 14

garston tony says...

I dont understand why people are having a pop at the police, this stuff can kill if not used in a controlled manner (which some drunk yooof on a Friday/Saturday night aint gonna be) so they are rightly concerned about it yet in the eyes of some that is wrong?!

Makingstars, yep its all a good laugh until someone ends up in hospital isnt it
I dont understand why people are having a pop at the police, this stuff can kill if not used in a controlled manner (which some drunk yooof on a Friday/Saturday night aint gonna be) so they are rightly concerned about it yet in the eyes of some that is wrong?! Makingstars, yep its all a good laugh until someone ends up in hospital isnt it garston tony
  • Score: 4

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree