To avoid public use and illegal sale of nitrous oxide (N2O), popularly known as laughing gas, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has kicked off a clampdown exercise.
This was after Olusina Ajidahun, a medical doctor flagged the appearance in a picture posted by Olamide, a lead rapper and song producer.
The photo featured some canisters assumed to contain N2O and puffed balloons.
The NDLEA said the decision to clampdown on those involved in the illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide, follows the analysis of the effects on those who abuse the substance, which include dizziness; disorientation, headache; lightheadedness; tainting spells; hallucinations; falling unconscious and suffocating from lack of oxygen; and other neurological complications, especially psychiatric symptoms.
Mohammed Marwa, NDLEA chairman in a statement issued on Tuesday ordered all commands and formations to go after those involved in the trade, according to a statement released by Femi Babafemi, spokesperson of the agency.
N2O is a colourless gas commonly used for sedation and pain relief, often by dentists and medical professionals to sedate patients undergoing minor medical procedures.
It is fast emerging as a drug in demand in Nigeria by young party-goers or fun-seekers to achieve cheap intoxication.
The gas is often transferred from its canisters into balloons, from where it’s inhaled for euphoric effects.
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.
It urged parents, guardians, and other stakeholders to be vigilant, alert, and warn their young ones against attempting to experiment or abusing the substance, which poses threats to their mental and overall wellbeing.Follow us on social media