Nitrous oxide inhalation using silver cartridge whippets continues to plight our communities with a local councillor once again calling for a more proactive approach to both understanding and tackling this increasingly rampant and worrying practice. Councillor Derren Ó Brádaigh had a motion for hearing at the recent South Dublin County Council meeting in April.
Cllr Ó Brádaigh said: “Only a year or two ago, not many of us had heard of the emerging fascination with Nitrous Oxide abuse amongst our youth. Commonly referred to as ‘Silver Bullets’ or more worryingly still, being called ‘Laughing Gas’ really serves to only downplay the danger involved. Rapidly becoming a widespread problem, the inhalation referred to as ‘nagging’ can cause serious mood swings and lead to depression – frequent use can affect blood pressure and can cause problems for people with heart problems or mental health concerns.
“I very much welcome the council response to the motion I had down – this is calling for a pilot project to map discarded Nitrous Oxide drug litter across the county. This data can be used to assist the work of local drug addiction services in better understanding the full nature of the problem and areas most affected.
“Furthermore, I have asked for the support of all councillors to agree to request that the Minister with responsibility for national drugs strategy, rolls out a National Awareness Programme that can see this discussed in schools now that they are back open again. Engaging the industry that manufacture this product should also be a part of the solution in my view. “These whippets are the silver cartridges that are strewn about our streets and parks across the community, a now frequent sight in shop car parks and regularly discarded alongside beer cans and bottles becoming an environmental eyesore and an additional element of recent upsurges of anti-social behaviour.
“I look forward to the next meeting where I will be seeking more detail to the Councils initial response on the pilot project timelines and method of recording and reporting. In the meantime, I have spoken with local drug addiction services in my own area in the hope that any such data can be utilised to further understand substance abuse disorders and to work toward eradicating this problem from our communities and the danger it presents to our young people.