No laughing matter over fatal legal high
CHILDREN are being warned about the fatal danger of laughing gas after the ‘ worrying’ craze hit Macclesfield.
Police say they have discovered dozens of empty metal canisters of nitrous oxide across the town.
Nicknamed hippy crack, chargers or whippets, the silver bullet-shaped canisters can be bought online.
Users fill a balloon and suck the gas from it to get a brief high.
But police and health chiefs are warning of the dangers of this so-called ‘legal high’.
Police have found empty canisters on playing fields in Upton Priory and on the underpass at Gas Road.
And Express readers have also reported finding them on Pickford Street in the town centre and areas of Poynton.
Nitrous oxide can cause dizziness, unconsciousness or death from lack of oxygen. Regular use can also lead to anaemia and nerve damage.
Sgt Steve Davenport, of Macclesfield police, said: “Young people need to be aware of the negative health effects of this laughing gas.
“We are taking this message out to schools in the town and youth club through our PCSOs.”
Macclesfield MP David Rutley said the trend was ‘extremely worrying’.
He said: “As a parent it is worrying to see the growing use of so-called legal highs like this.
“We need to support the police in all that they do, remind young people of the dangers of using laughing gas and help better educate parents and youth leaders.
“Young people need to be better protected from the dangers involved.”
Dr Paul Bowen, chairman of NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG, which represents GPs in Maccles- field and Poynton, said: “While nitrous oxide, or ‘laughing gas’, is sometimes used as an anaesthetic during dental surgery, it can be very harmful when misused.
“It can cause dizziness and lack of judgment and – in extreme cases – loss of consciousness and even death, due to lack of oxygen.
“Regular use of nitrous oxide can also lead to deficiency in the vitamin B12, which can lead to serious nerve damage in some cases.”
While possessing and inhaling the gas is legal in Britain, it is illegal to sell it to under 18s.
●● Erika Groeneveld sent in this picture of a discarded canister on Pickford Street, inset, Police say they have collected dozens of the canisters
●● A still from the short film Balloon, which aims to raise awareness of cancer