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Recent demographic trends have witnessed a surge in the supply and wrongful recreational use of nitrous oxide, also known as ‘laughing gas.’ According to a recent report, after conducting numerous surveys, one conclusion was drawn: young people in our societies are using nitrous oxide without fully understanding the potential consequences. Additionally, many adults and parents seem unaware of both nitrous oxide itself and the extent of its wrongful usage in their communities.

Neuro specialists have voiced concerns about the misuse of nitrous oxide, noting a significant number of people presenting symptoms of ill health at hospitals and clinics due to its wrongful use.

Dawat-e-Islami regularly raises awareness about the core issues in our community and to highlight this issue, launched an awareness campaign at the end of December.

What is Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide which is also known as Laughing gas, is a colourless gas sold in canisters, usually inhaled using a balloon.
People open the canister, transfer the gas into a container (usually a balloon), then inhale from the balloon.

Effects on the body

When someone inhales nitrous oxide, the gas rapidly dissolves into the bloodstream, and reaches the brain within seconds.
The gas will slow down your brain and your body’s responses.
A rush of dizziness and euphoria is commonly reported, and people often burst into laughter. Sound distortion also occurs.

Risk

“Regular heavy use of the drug can lead to vitamin B12 deficiency. As vitamin B12 is essential for maintaining the nervous system, abuse of nitrous oxide can lead to nerve damage. Symptoms of nerve damage include tingling and numbness in fingers and toes and weakness of the arms and legs. Treatment with high doses of B12 is effective, but some damage can be irreversible. It is likely that less severe vitamin B12 deficiencies caused by nitrous oxide overuse can go undiagnosed, but cause other symptoms, such as depression, forgetfulness, and tiredness.”

Awareness Campaign

Dawat-e-Islami is using various ways to raise awareness about this issue. Some are mentioned below:

With thousands of people visiting Dawat-e-Islami’s centres for Jummah Prayers. At all the centres, all the imams focussed on the issue of laughing gas.

The Imams discussed many points including what this gas is, what are the harms of taking this gas, the effects of this gas on the body, the reasons as to why people use it, real life examples of people who have suffered after taking this gas and many more.

Work Shops

Exhibitions and informative workshops highlighting using nitrous oxide wrongfully as a serious issue within local societies. Within these events, young people were and are taught by qualified youth workers about the negative impacts and issues of taking nitrous oxide as well as hearing about real-life cases of individuals who have been negatively affected by laughing gas. During these events, delegations from the local West Midlands police, council officials, medical experts, community respected youth mentors and the police and crime commissioners’ team have attended and presented their first-hand experiences of young people abusively taking in nitrous oxide.

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