Police have issued a warning after cannisters of nitrous oxide were found in Kirkcudbright and Castle Douglas.
A spokesman said this week: “In light of instances within the Stewartry we are re-emphasising our message with regards to the inappropriate use of Nitrous Oxide gas, in particular the use of the small metal canisters.
“Within Dumfries and Galloway we are concerned about the increasing use of Nitrous Oxide in particularly by young adults. We have made several recoveries of discarded canisters throughout our region after being notified by concerned members of the public. It is thought that these are being used irresponsibly to obtain feelings of intoxication.
“It is suggested that young people within the community may be experimenting with the use of Nitrous Oxide and may not be aware of the potential side effects. If this gas is used inappropriately it can have damaging side effects and can be potentially fatal.”
Nitrous Oxide is a gas with several legitimate uses, but when inhaled it can make people feel euphoric and relaxed. This happy feeling has led to it being nicknamed ‘laughing gas’. Some people also experience hallucinations.
However, there are many dangers associated with the misuse of Nitrous Oxide including, oxygen deprivation, asphyxiation, brain damage and damage to the nervous system. These risks are likely to be greater if the gas is consumed in an enclosed space or if a substantial amount is rapidly used.
There are three main legitimate uses of Nitrous oxide: to numb pain during medical procedures such as dental work; in engines to increase their power output and in catering, in whipped cream aerosol cans.