Published: 2023-03-26 19:54
Last Updated: 2023-06-05 14:04
United Kingdom government announced its plan to ban nitrous oxide, or better known as laughing gas, in an effort to stop city centers and parks from turning into “drug-taking arenas.”
The government is currently attempting to tackle ‘antisocial behavior’ with the full plan to be announced on Monday which will also include crime victims and communities having a say in the type of penalties offenders should face, local media said.
When the country’s Secretary of State for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, was asked if laughing gas should be the government’s focus in light of the ‘terrible rate’ of prosecution for violent crimes such as rape, he said: “I think you have to do both – you have to walk and chew gum.”
“It is the case that there are communities across this country where people feel their high street has been damaged because of the behavior of thugs and yobs, they feel they can’t walk at night, women and girls in particular, in public spaces because of intimidatory behavior. We do need to deal with that,” he added.
The UK already bans the “knowing or reckless” supply of nitrous oxide for inhalation outside of medical uses. However, the canisters can be easily bought online and on the streets.
Doctors warn that prolonged use can cause nerve damage, anemia and spinal injuries.
Official data revealed that between 2001 and 2016, 36 people died due to the misuse of nitrous oxide.
Gove also said: “I think any of us who have had the opportunity to walk through our parks in our major cities will have seen these little canisters, these silver canisters which are examples of people not only despoiling public spaces but also people taking a drug which can have a psychological and neurological effect and one that contributes to antisocial behavior overall.”