1. ITV Report

Nurses warn dangers of laughing gas use not understood

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Recreational use of nitrous oxide is becoming an increasing issue according to Welsh nurses who warn that "no drug is safe."

Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide causes short-lived feelings of euphoria and fits of giggles when inhaled.

Nitrous oxide is often used as a recreational drug but nurses are warning of the dangers Credit: ITV

But nurses from the Royal College of Nursing Wales say there is a lack of understanding around the abuse of nitrous oxide and its consequences on health and wellbeing.

These can include risk of fainting or suffocating from lack of oxygen.

Jeremy Davies, a mental health nurse with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, has worked with users of the substance in an acute mental health setting.

People know it produces a short acting euphoria and other effects they enjoy.

However the effects on the body, the increased risk of accidental harm or death are not as frequently discussed.

Its additional effect of synergising with other drugs, means it cannot be seen as a safe drug. There is no such thing as a safe drug.

– Jeremy Davies

Since 2016, it has been illegal to supply nitrous oxide for its psychoactive effect.

However, this is hard to enforce as the substance is easily available in small canisters intended for use in food products.

According to a government study on drug misuse, the use of nitrous oxide has remained relatively stable despite the introduction of the law.

Levels of nitrous oxide use are highest among those aged 16 to 24 years old.