MEP Urges Government To Ban Nitrous Oxide

barry andrews mep

Barry Andrews, MEP for Dublin, is urging the Irish Government to take decisive action by aligning with the recent decisions of other EU Member States and amending existing legislation to restrict access to nitrous oxide, popularly known as laughing gas – with the empty canisters at familiar sight on our streets and in our alleyways. Andrews emphasises the need for Ireland to keep pace with its European counterparts in addressing the growing concerns surrounding the recreational use of nitrous oxide.

Expressing his concern, Andrews stated: “While countries like Belgium and the Netherlands have already taken steps to outlaw nitrous oxide, Ireland lags behind. It’s crucial for our government to amend existing legislation promptly.” Andrews draws attention to Belgium’s recent official ban on nitrous oxide after a significant spike in consumption, especially among the youth. The Netherlands and the UK have also taken measures to prohibit its recreational use, indicating a shift even in nations known for progressive views on drug use. Andrews labels laughing gas as this century’s ‘gateway drug’ for young people.

The 2022 study from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, highlighted by Andrews, reveals that one in four Irish individuals has experimented with nitrous oxide. Despite the psychoactive properties of nitrous oxide, existing legislation falls short of classifying it as a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977. Andrews sheds light on the legal inconsistencies, stating, “While the Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Act 2010 prohibits the sale of psychoactive substances, which prohibits the sale of nitrous oxide for its psychoactive properties, nitrous oxide remains legally accessible for catering and industrial purposes. This legal gap allows its sale in small retail outlets and online, contributing to its prevalence.”

Further underscoring the ease of access, Andrews points out: “Nitrous oxide can be easily obtained from websites, many of which boast about creating memorable moments and offering anonymity. One particular online ‘retailer’  emphasises its European production, free delivery, and even introduces ‘flavours,’ initially seemingly for whipped cream but ambiguously presented on the website.”

Andrews concludes with a stark warning, “There is a general misconception among users that inhalation of nitrous oxide is safe. The momentary euphoria it offers is not worth the potentially life-altering and deadly effects. Immediate action is imperative to protect the well-being of our youth.”

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Sarah Brooks

Sarah has worked in marketing and content creation for many years. In her role at Newsgroup, she is the online editor of with a particular interest in local news and events. Sarah also works closely with our editorial team on our printed editions in Tallaght, Lucan, Clondalkin and Rathcoole/Saggart. If you have a story and would like to make contact please email Sarah at



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