The British government plans to ban the sale of nitrous oxide, which is to be treated as a drug. Secretary of State for Equal Opportunities Michael Gove said the ban would stop parks from being turned into drug-taking arenas. The proposal is expected to be officially announced on Monday.
The nitrous oxide ban is part of a larger package of measures to curb anti-social behavior in the UK. The government is expected to announce details on Monday. Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Equal Opportunities, Housing and Communities, spoke to Sky News on Sunday about the plans to ban the sale.
“I think everyone who has the opportunity to walk in our parks in our big cities sees these little containers that not only disfigure public spaces, but are also a drug that causes psychological and neurological damage and contributes to anti-social behavior,” said Michael Gove.
Ban on the sale of laughing gas
The use of nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a major health risk and has become a plague among British teenagers and young adults, Sky News has reported.
Nitrous oxide is the second most commonly used drug among 16- to 24-year-olds in the UK, after marijuana. Sky News has reported that there has been a sharp increase in hospital admissions of people using the drug “at parties” in the recent period.
The announced ban goes further than the recommendations of the Home Office – the UK’s equivalent of the Home Office – which did not recommend a ban on the sale of the substance after examining the risks of its use.
The Independent Drug Abuse Advisory Committee (ACMD) was asked by the Home Office in 2021 to give its opinion on whether possession of nitrous oxide should be punished. The ACMD stated that this would be disproportionate to the level of harm associated with the substance. It could also have a negative impact on the legal use of the substance, which is widely used in medicine.
Main photo source: EPA/ANDY RAIN