Residents urge laughing gas users to look after themselves after 'worrying' increase in drug use

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A rise in the use of 'laughing gas' in north Nottinghamshire has led to calls from residents for users to "look after" their bodies.

The drug, known officially as nitrous oxide but also known as 'nos', comes in small metal canisters which can regularly be seen strewn in parks and open spaces.

Users often inhale the gas through a balloon, giving them a temporary high and its use is popular among teenagers.

Increased use of the drug has been reported in Mansfield, Ashfield and Bassetlaw, with Nottinghamshire Police attending more incidents where the canisters are found.

Residents in Sutton-in-Ashfield have since hit out at the rise in 'laughing gas' use, saying it is putting them off visiting parks in the area.

Dave Sanders, 57, works in Sutton every day and urged users of the 'laughing gas' to "look after" their bodies.

"You only have one body and in my opinion, all of these people should not mess it up," he told Nottinghamshire Live.

"If you've got fresh air then breathe fresh air, you have one body and you should look after it.

"It's clearly a form of escapism for these people, to get away from the humdrum of life. I don't think they've been brought up properly."

Jayne Spence, 42, from Sutton, says nitrous oxide use "puts me off" going to parks across the district with her children.

"It definitely puts me off going out to places like The Lawn when you hear people are leaving the canisters around," she said.

"My children are eight and 11 and I don't want them asking me what the canisters are or what they do.

Empty nitrous oxide canisters found in a planter in Stapleford (Image: Richard MacRae)

"I just don't think it's needed. You have adults taking drugs in town and then kids doing this in parks and alleys. It's like you can't avoid it."

Police have said they are increasing patrols in areas where they have found the nitrous oxide canisters and are calling on parents to "be vigilant" for signs their children are using or buying the drug.

Chief Superintendent Rob Griffin, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “This is a worrying trend that puts the communities we serve at risk.

“Inhaling nitrous oxide can be dangerous and can lead to loss of blood pressure, heart attack, unconsciousness and can ultimately lead to death.

“The health risks are likely to be exacerbated if the exposure to the gas is combined with alcohol or other drugs.

“I’m urging our young people to really think about their actions and the possible consequences it could have.

“Please ask yourself if the risks of inhaling this substance are really worth it?

“I’m also asking parents and families to support us by being vigilant for the signs of nitrous oxide and to talk to their children about the risks associated with it and ensure they are safe.

“I would also ask our local communities to help us keep people safe. If you see any suspicious activity where you think nitrous oxide is being consumed, please report it to Nottinghamshire Police on 101 and our officers will visit the area.”

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