Coventry health chiefs warn of 'laughing gas' dangers after spike in hospital admissions - The Coventry Observer

Coventry health chiefs warn of 'laughing gas' dangers after spike in hospital admissions

Coventry Editorial 27th Oct, 2022   0

COVENTRY’S young people are being warned of the ‘dangerous, damaging and terrifying’ effects of using nitrous oxide, better known as ‘laughing gas’, following an increase in hospital admissions in the city.

Medics say they are increasingly concerned the drug’s popularity is causing neurological problems such as spinal cord and nerve damage.

Nitrous oxide is relatively cheap and easily available and is known for its ability to cause calmness and light-headedness, with the shiny silver metal canisters emptied into balloons before the gas is inhaled.

University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust consultant neurologist, Dr Holger Allroggen, has admitted several young men with nitrous oxide neurotoxicity over the last few weeks.

He said: “Nitrous oxide can affect both the spinal cord and the nerves in arms and legs resulting in loss of feeling, abnormal sensations, loss of motor function and therefore variable degrees of limb weakness right down to paralysis.

“Treatment may or may not work and the resulting damage can be permanent, with no clear relationship between quantities of nitrous oxide taken and neurological damage.

“This self-inflicted damage is completely avoidable by not using nitrous oxide.”

Coventry City Council’s cabinet member for public health and sport, Councillor Kamran Caan, said it was: ‘Terrifying to see and hear of young people being paralysed by laughing gas.

“Teenagers and young men may always think it happens to someone else and won’t happen to them, which is why it is so

important that we work with our partners to raise awareness and spread the message that these life-changing risks are not worth taking just because it is a cheap legal high.

“We take these matters extremely seriously and there is a citywide Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in place that allows officers to confiscate and dispose of any nitrous canisters.

“This allows people to be fined if they refuse to give up their nitrous once challenged.”

Visit to report any incidents to the police or the council.


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