By Bukar Bolori
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA) have been order out onto the street by the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the anti-narcotics agency, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) to begin an immediate clampdown on illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas which is now being abuse by people who use it for recreational purposes.
The spokesman of the agency, Femi Babafemi, in a statement on Tuesday, explained that nitrous oxide is a colourless gas that is commonly used for sedation and pain relief, more often by dentists and medical professionals to sedate patients undergoing minor medical procedures.
He said it is popularly called laughing gas or N20, and is fast emerging as a drug in demand in Nigeria by young party-goers or fun-seekers to feel intoxicated or high.
Babafemi further explained that the gas is often transferred from its containers into balloons, from where it is inhaled for euphoric effects.
According to the statement, the decision to clampdown on those involved in illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide, follows analysis of the effects on those who abuse the substance, which include: dizziness; disorientation, headache; light headedness; 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.
Parents, guardians and other stakeholders are advised to be vigilant, alert and warn their young ones against attempting experimenting or abusing the substance, which poses threats to their mental and overall wellbeing.