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NDLEA bans sale, use of Nitrous Oxide over harmful effects on Nigerian consumers

*Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency urges parents, guardians, and other stakeholders to be alert and warn their young ones against experimenting with or abusing the substance because of the diverse damaging effects of Nitrous Oxide on consumers’ mental and overall well-being

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In line with the agency’s mandate to ensure a drugs-free society, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has ordered a nationwide clampdown on the sale and consumption of nitrous oxide also known as ”laughing gas.”

Mr. Femi Babafemi, Director of Media and Advocacy at NDLEA, in a statement issued Tuesday, July 12, 2023, disclosed Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (Rtd), Chairman of the anti-narcotics regulatory agency, said Nitrous Oxide, also called “N20″, is a colourless gas used for sedation and pain relief by dentists and medical professionals to sedate patients undergoing minor medical procedures.

Nitrous Oxide     Photo: BBC 

Marwa, however, noted that the express directive is in direct response to how the gas is being used for recreational purposes as a drug by some fun seekers.

The Chairman also stated the demand for the substance had spiked in recent times.

Substance abusers to face stiff penalty

The agency as well noted that it would not hesitate to punish anyone caught with the prohibited substance in the West African country.

“The NDLEA CEO directed all commands and formations of the agency to begin an immediate clampdown on the illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas following its abuse by people who use it for recreational purposes.

“It is fast emerging as a drug in demand in Nigeria by young party-goers or fun-seekers to feel intoxicated or high.

“The gas is often transferred from its containers into balloons, where it’s inhaled,” the statement said.

Marwa further explained the “decision to clampdown on those involved in the illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide follows an analysis of the effects on those who abuse the substance, which include: dizziness; disorientation, headache; lightheadedness; 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.”

Advice to parents and guardians

Marwa, therefore, urged parents, guardians, and other stakeholders to be vigilant, alert, and warn their young ones against experimenting with or abusing the substance.

The NDLEA warned that the gas as well threatens users’ mental and overall well-being.

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