Youth Councillors say no to N2O

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Epping Forest Youth Councillors took to districts car parks to clean up laughing gas canisters, empty bottles of alcohol and general waste.

Along with members of the Waste Management Team and City of London Volunteer Wardens, Youth Councillors dressed in protective clothing cleaned up over 550 laughing gas canisters in Epping Forest, Traps Hill, Loughton and Cornmill Lane, Waltham Abbey.

So what is laughing gas?

The Home Office has found Nitrous Oxide (N2O) more commonly known as laughing gas, to be the second most popular recreational drug among 16 to 24 year olds in England and Wales.

Nitrous oxide is not a controlled drug, and has legitimate uses in medicine and dentistry.

Under the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985, it is illegal to sell to under 18s when the seller believes the substance may be inhaled for the purposes of intoxication.

While it is not illegal for an adult to inhale the gas, many authority’s across Britain are concerned about its use.

Raising awareness

Youth Councillors are currently conducting an on line survey in schools, aiming to identify

  • Young people’s understanding of drugs
  • What drugs they have tried
  • What made they try them
  • Peer pressure
  • Curiosity or boredom

The findings will be published as part of the Youth Council’s drug awareness project.

Youth Councillors are currently designing a poster campaign to take into their schools and raise awareness of the dangers of the laughing gas craze.

Are you aged between 11 and 24?

Understanding the risks

Youth Councillor Nina Honey said: “It is important young people understand the serious health risks the substance can pose.”

“Nitrous oxide can be very dangerous when misused. When inhaled the gas restricts oxygen getting to the brain and can cause someone to become faint or unconscious and can even cause heart attacks.”

“The amount of canisters we found whilst out and about is worrying and it shows laughing gas is a real issue for young people today. Through our drug awareness project we hope to highlight the risks and make young people aware of the damage they are doing.”

More information

For further information contact

  • Di Gilson-Butler
  • Youth Engagement Officer
  • 01992 564 365