Nos could be made illegal, as Priti Patel orders a review into its effects

She wants to ‘take tough action’ on your silly little balloons

Priti Patel has ordered a review into the effects of laughing gas which could criminalise it, and has said she’s ready to “take tough action” on the drug.

It’s currently a crime to sell nos, but not to sell it – and the government reckons this fact could be a “significant factor” in the ballooning use of the drug.

However, experts have said any move to criminalise laughing gas could be ineffective.

“The government’s insistence on criminalisation and incarceration for minor drug offences worsens problems linked to illicit drug use, including social inequality and violence,” Burcu Borysik, head of policy at the Royal Society for Public Health said.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs will look into the effects of nitrous oxide, which is now the second most-used drug among young people in the UK.

The Home Office says long-term laughing gas use can cause anaemia, vitamin B12 deficiency, and that its links to antisocial behaviour and littering “bring misery to communities”.

However, VICE reports that nitrous oxide was mentioned on just 35 death certificates in England and Wales between 1993 and 2017 – with most deaths involving “abnormal” ways of consuming it.

Home secretary Priti Patel, announcing the move, said: “Misusing drugs can have a devastating impact on lives and communities. We are determined to do all we can to address this issue and protect the futures of our children and young people.”

Related stories recommended by this writer:

How many balloons are too many? We asked an expert how bad NOS actually is for you

Student swallowed nos canister for a dare and had to have it surgically removed

We spoke to an addiction expert to find out how harmful laughing gas is for your body