‘Hippy crack’ find prompts call to par­ents

Southport Visiter - - Front Page - BY AN­DREW BROWN an­drew.brownnw@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @visan­drew­brown

ASOUTHPORT busi­ness owner and mum is urg­ing par­ents to be aware af­ter she found sev­eral empty “hippy crack” can­is­ters out­side her shop on Sun­day morn­ing.

Sh­eryl Flint made the dis­cov­ery near Sparkles Bou­tique cloths shop in Hart Street, and is con­cerned about the dam­age they may be do­ing.

Hippy crack, oth­er­wise known as ni­trous ox­ide or laugh­ing gas, is le­gal to pos­sess – it is rou­tinely used to make whipped cream, and as a painkiller in den­tal surgery and child­birth – al­though it is il­le­gal to sell it to peo­ple be­low the age of 18 if the seller be­lieves that it is go­ing to be used for in­tox­i­ca­tion.

Sh­eryl said: “Af­ter find­ing loads of these out­side the shop in the street I didn’t know what they were, but now I do.

“I just want to make this pub­lic to peo­ple read­ing this and par­ents.

“These can­is­ters are be­ing sold glob­ally and you may have no­ticed the empty car­tridges ly­ing around the street.

“The kids are tak­ing these as a drug, in­hal­ing the contents through the mouth.

“Just in­hal­ing one of these can­is­ters can kill you, giv­ing you pock­ets of air in the blood. If they travel to the brain or heart they can be fa­tal.

“Chil­dren don’t know the dan­gers they are fac­ing.

“Par­ents, please tell your chil­dren the dan­gers.”

There were 13 deaths in Eng­land and Wales be­tween 1993 and 2013 in which ni­trous ox­ide was men­tioned on the death cer­tifi­cate.

The deaths were as a re­sult of as­phyx­i­a­tion.

The drug is a gas, which some peo­ple have used straight from a can­is­ter via a face mask, which means that they have not re­ceived any oxy­gen.

The web­site of the In­de­pen­dent Sci­en­tific Com­mit­tee on Drugs, Drug Sci­ence, warns: “In­hal­ing ni­trous ox­ide in a dan­ger­ous way will not cause any warn­ing symp­toms un­til the user sud­denly be­comes un­con­scious. Then brain dam­age, fol­lowed by death, can oc­cur within min­utes.”

Have you seen any ni­trous ox­ide can­is­ters in Southport? How big an is­sue is this lo­cally?

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Ni­trous ox­ide can­is­ters, left, were found on the ground out­side Sparkles Bou­tique

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