By Rhoda Okoh

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has ordered all commands and formations of the Agency to put a stop to the illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas.

In a statement by the agency’s Media & Advocacy Director Femi Babafemi at the NDLEA Headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday 11th July 2023 said the order was to respond to the laughing gas abuse by people who use it for recreational purposes.

According to him, Nitrous oxide is a colorless gas that is commonly used for sedation and pain relief, usually by dentists and medical professionals to sedate patients undergoing minor medical procedures. Popularly called laughing gas or N20 and harped on emerging drug demand in Nigeria as young party-goers or fun-seekers feels intoxicated with the substance.

“The NDLEA in a statement on Tuesday 11th July said 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.

“The gas is often transferred from its containers into balloons, from where its inhaled for euphoric effects. It urges parents, guardians, and other stakeholders to be vigilant, alert, and warn their young ones against attempting experimenting or abusing the substance, which poses threats to their mental and overall wellbeing.” The statement ended.

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