Brigadier General Buba Marwa (retd.), the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, has issued a directive for a comprehensive crackdown across the country on the sale and usage of nitrous oxide, commonly referred to as “laughing gas.”
Nitrous oxide, also called “N20″ is a colourless gas used for sedation and pain relief by dentists and medical professionals to sedate patients undergoing minor medical procedures.
Marwa however said the order was in response to the gas being used for recreational purposes as a drug by some fun seekers, adding that the demand for the substance had spiked.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the agency spokesperson, Femi Babafemi said the agency would not think twice to punish anyone caught with the substance.
According to a statement released on Tuesday by the agency’s spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, the NDLEA is determined to take decisive action against individuals found in possession of the substance.
It partly read,” The NDLEA CEO directed all commands and formations of the agency to begin an immediate clampdown on the illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas following its abuse by people who use it for recreational purposes.
“It is fast emerging as a drug in demand in Nigeria by young party-goers or fun-seekers to feel intoxicated or high. The gas is often transferred from its containers into balloons, where it’s inhaled.
“The decision to clampdown on those involved in the illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide follows an analysis of the effects on those who abuse the substance, which include: dizziness; disorientation, headache; lightheadedness; fainting spells; hallucinations; falling unconscious and/or suffocating from lack of oxygen; and other neurological complications, especially psychiatric symptoms.
“The Agency said pending when other measures are taken in consultation with other stakeholders especially the Federal Ministry of Health, to curb the menace, it will not hesitate to wield the big stick against anyone, no matter their social status, involved in illegal sale or use of nitrous oxide in the overall interest of public health.”
Murwa urged parents, guardians, and other stakeholders to be vigilant, alert, and warn their young ones against experimenting with or abusing the substance. He warned that the gas threatened users’ mental and overall well-being.