Laughing gas and all legal highs banned in UK from Thursday: THE FACTSBy Paul Bracchi and Tim Stewart. Unlike legal high gases, though, it is not illegal. Could there be a more revealing — or disturbing — snapshot of what now pegal a typical night out for a growing number of well-heeled, young people? Scroll down for video. Brick Lane, on the edge of the City, is synonymous with curry houses and bagel shops.
People getting high on laughing gas don't realise it's deadly | Daily Mail Online
By Paul Bracchi and Tim Stewart. Unlike cocaine, though, it is not illegal. Could there be a more revealing — or disturbing — snapshot of what now constitutes a typical night out for a growing number of well-heeled, young people? Scroll down for video. Brick Lane, on the edge of the City, is synonymous with curry houses and bagel shops. Many might find that slightly euphemistic, especially after 11pm on a Friday or Saturday.
So it was last weekend. As the light began to fade, balloon sellers, including one with a fierce-looking Mohican haircut, swarmed onto the pavement like cockroaches and began touting for business.
We counted six sellers — both male and female — patrolling the northern end of Brick Lane, between Cafe and the Exit bar, with bags containing nitrous oxide canisters and other paraphernalia of their trade flung over their shoulders. Some even had chip-and-pin machines to take payment from their middle-class clientele. Indeed, the phenomenon is becoming as widespread as glue-sniffing was in the Eighties.
The scenes we witnessed told their own story. A young woman in skinny, white jeans, balloon stuck to her lips, staggers along the street. A group of girls, some who seem to be in their late-teens, eyes glazed, are propped up against walls and shop fronts, or slumped in doorways. Two men in white shirts can be seen breathing in the gas side-by-side. Someone else narrowly avoids falling into the path of an oncoming car. Nitrous Oxide can have devastating consequences such as stroke, blackouts, seizures and heart attacks.
Discarded canisters are strewn in the gutter. All of this takes place under the noses of police who walk up and down the street in pairs, but are powerless to act, unless they suspect customers are under the age of You take the balloon and breathe in and out. Some people even pass out. So, why on earth do young people do it?
More than , people aged 16 to 24 used nitrous oxide last year, which represents 7. Only cannabis had more users. Behind those figures is an even more shocking statistic that has gone almost unreported: The team was disbanded a year ago, so the death toll has probably risen since then, but gone unreported.
Nitrous oxide dissolves in the bloodstream, reducing the amount of oxygen flowing to the brain and other vital organs. This can have devastating consequences, causing strokes, blackouts, seizures and heart attacks. There is also a risk of asphyxiation, which can lead to brain damage, or death by asphyxiation. Worryingly, doctors say they have no way of knowing how much nitrous oxide gas puts users at risk. Regular users can also develop severe vitamin B deficiency, as the nitrous oxide blocks absorption of the vitamin.
This can cause serious nerve damage, leading to tingling and numbness in the fingers, toes and other extremities, and even difficulties with walking and pains in the affected areas. Nevertheless, it is widely available on the internet, as well as on the street. Websites such as Amazon, Gumtree and eBay are awash with adverts for nitrous oxide paraphernalia. Today, following a Daily Mail investigation, some of those at the centre of the lucrative, but highly controversial, trade can be identified for the first time.
One is Ian Johnston. Mr Johnston is a year-old law graduate and Plymouth-based nightclub owner. Taken at face value, his itemised sales, which are listed on the site, show that business is booming. When we contacted him, he insisted, in an email, that he was acting entirely within the law, and drew attention to his terms and conditions of sale, which state: We will refuse to sell to you if we suspect you intend to misuse our products.
Many might also wonder why, on a social networking site, Mr Johnston posted adverts for supposed whipped cream chargers alongside flyers for clubbing events he was promoting, and whether, in fact, it is just a coincidence that the name of his company, when spelt backwards, is MDMA — the chemical name for ecstasy. These questions were put to Mr Johnston but, by the time of publication, he had not replied.
Over in Bristol, shops sell small gas cylinders for as little as 30p — including four outlets in one road alone — and only in one of them was there a warning about its misuse on display. Street vendors, like those in Brick Lane, also tout for business. Last Saturday, a group of young professionals could be seen buying balloons in a park, and then putting the balloons to their lips in unison, seemingly oblivious to the families with young children sitting on blankets nearby. One of the biggest suppliers in the Bristol area is Anytime Cream, which offers a hour delivery service.
The person who runs it is Tom Barrett. Except a description of his website on its domain registration rather gives the game away. In fact, he is doing better than that, if his Facebook page is anything to go by, which features photos of him snowboarding in the Alps and holidaying in Australia, Ibiza, Croatia and Lanzarote. And printed on each one is: Our inquiries led us to a computer repair shop in the East End and a man calling himself Danny Russell. But this is no harmless pastime. The most recent victim of nitrous oxide — that we know of — was year-old Jordan Guise, from Kidderminster, Worcs, head chef at the La Charniere restaurant in Beziers, southern France.
He was found dead at his flat in February this year. He had been experimenting with nitrous oxide and collapsed in the process of inhaling it, it emerged at the French inquest. People do not understand how dangerous it is. And, despite such deaths, the scene that unfolded in Brick Lane last weekend will begin all over again tonight. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. Share this article Share. Share or comment on this article e-mail.
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