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Warnings Against Growing Nitrous Oxide Abuse As Gas Stations Sell Potentially Deadly ‘Nan’ To Teenagers

Canisters of the potentially deadly nitrous oxide gas linked to the death of a Queensland man yesterday are widely available across Australia, including at many petrol stations.

Some health workers are calling for a crackdown on the sale of canisters, known as “naan” among teens, but major drug authorities say banning the sale is a way to curb drug-related deaths. Instead, it only promotes black market sales.

Queensland police on Monday A 30-year-old man reveals he drowned in a spa after inhaling drugs.

Police said the man was knocked unconscious at a spa on the premises of Surfers Paradise and was unable to be resuscitated by paramedics.

Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” is commonly used in the medical industry, as well as in cafes and restaurants in devices that whip up cream instantly.

However, medical experts are concerned that gas is being used more and more by young people as an inhaler.

Some gas stations discreetly sell “nans” and aluminum canisters for whipped cream.(ABC Gippsland: Beck Simmons)

In rural Victoria, ABC saw Gas aluminum cartridges sold at various locations, including service stations.

In some metropolitan areas, you can even have naan delivered to your home by ordering from their website.

Jess Lawrence, a drug, alcohol and mental health counselor who works for Head to Health in eastern Victoria, said naan use was widespread among young people and authorities needed to take action.

“I rented a football hut for my son’s 18th birthday and had to clear a pile of naan from the bathroom floor before he could use it before the party started,” she said. said.

“It’s a public health issue that hasn’t been addressed so far and needs to be cracked down.

“They are very accessible and are not sold because they are made, they are only sold for physical use.”

Small green and silver canisters held by several hands
Nitrous Oxide Canister, Nang is advertised online and delivered within 30 minutes. (ABC News)

A spokesperson for the Federal Department of Health and Aged Care said the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA) has reclassified nitrous oxide cartridges as Schedule 6 poisons, but it is up to states and territories to enact and enforce laws regarding them. Said there was.

“Some states and territories may impose further restrictions on the storage and availability of nitrous oxide, including its sale and access by young people.”

Nicole Lee, an adjunct professor at the National Institute of Medicine, said drugs like Nan are relatively low in “harmfulness,” but cracking down on them would only make them more attractive to young people.

A woman sitting at a desk.
Dr. Nicole Lee says the crackdown will lead to an increase in black market activity.(attached)

“They are available on the black market, which makes them more accessible,” Dr. Lee said.

“And it’s very easy to import and buy from abroad.”

Dr. Lee says the best way to control not only Nan, but also illegal vape and e-cigarette sales, is to regulate the market and dominate it.

Although there are no separate data collected on nitrous oxide use in Australia, recent use of inhalants containing naan has been steadily increasing, with the 2021 World Drug Survey ranking it 13th most popular globally. It is listed as a recreational drug with

How Toxic Is “Naan”?

When a bulb of nitrous oxide is released into the mouth or released into a balloon and then inhaled, it produces short bursts of euphoria, excitement, floating sensations, or hallucinations when mixed with other drugs. cause it.

Historically, light bulbs were plain aluminum containers.

However, some of the canisters ABC saw at local gas stations looked like flashlights and came in flashy, colorful packaging, clearly designed to attract young people.

According to the Alcohol and Drugs Foundation, regular use of nitrous oxide can cause memory loss, depression, tinnitus, incontinence, limb cramps, and a weakened immune system.

However, Dr. Lee said he does not believe naan use, which first became popular in the 1970s, has long-term adverse effects on the brain.

“I have records [of] people who have used [nangs] For a very long time, constantly, I see some symptoms and brain damage,” she said.

“But generally people don’t use them that way. Just a few at a time, usually at parties and festivals.”

Empty Silver Nitrous Oxide Canister
Inhaling nitrous oxide can be fatal if you don’t get enough oxygen, known as hypoxia.(Courtesy: Nikki Yazdi)

Buy Ark On The Go

But it’s not just the wide availability of naan that health advocates are concerned about.

Walk into some service stations in rural Victoria and you’ll find a menu of e-cigarettes (or “vapes”) next to nitrous oxide canisters.

The menu is full of different flavors and sizes, including a container with enough steam for 3,500 puffs, priced at around $45.

list of flavors.
Menu showing available e-cigarette flavors at one service station visited by ABC.(attached)

After October 1, 2021, after a ruling by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), it will be illegal for consumers to purchase and import nicotine-containing e-cigarette products without a prescription.

It is also illegal for retailers (other than pharmacies) to sell e-cigarettes or e-cigarettes containing nicotine, including online sales.

However, ABC believes many service stations sell e-cigarettes and other e-cigarettes containing nicotine.

Both the Cancer Council and VicHealth have spoken out about the need to regulate e-cigarettes and stop their importation.

Vaping is “exploding”

VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio says e-cigarette use is “surge” and calls for a stop at borders.

Dr. Sandro DeMaio smiling at the camera
Dr. Sandro De Maio says the federal government must stop the influx of illegal e-cigarettes.(By: VicHealth)

“The federal government is a government that really needs to be radically strengthened,” he said.

“Laws on advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes should be expanded to include tougher border controls and protections and to include new media, including social media.

“But basically they have to turn off the taps at the border.”

Dr. DeMaio said he is very skeptical of the marketing around e-cigarettes, which have been touted as a healthier alternative for people trying to quit regular cigarettes.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-02-21/calls-to-regulate-nitrous-oxide-nang-sales-after-death/101997190 Warnings Against Growing Nitrous Oxide Abuse As Gas Stations Sell Potentially Deadly ‘Nan’ To Teenagers

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