The Labour Party’s, Chris O’Dwyer, is calling on State Bodies and Local Authorities to roll out an immediate nitrous oxide awareness campaign ahead of the summer months.
O’Dwyer, who has experience of working in the area of drugs addiction said: “In summer 2020 the general public became aware of nitrous oxide use because they were spending more and more time in their local areas. Nitrous oxide, among other inhaled substances, has been used recreationally for many years but went relatively unnoticed.
“Nitrous oxide comes in many forms and is used in a variety of sectors from medical and dentistry to catering, this variety of use has increased its availability to the general public. However, the purity of the nitrous varies from setting to setting. Nitrous oxide in non-medical settings is full of impurities that can cause serious harm when inhaled. Last year a young man died after inhaling a canister of nitrous oxide with a group of friends.
“These canisters can be purchased legally for as little as €2 on domestic and foreign websites however, there is a growing trend of drug cartels selling these canisters to young people. “There needs to be a grand scale awareness campaign rolled out in schools, both primary and secondary, and across social media as well. Conversation needs to be generated, parents, teachers, students, teenagers and care givers need to be involved in this conversation. “There has been a delay in legislation to control the sale and supply of nitrous oxide and despite numerous emails Minister Feighan is yet to act on this issue despite being the appropriate Minister.
“There is a real opportunity to limit the impact of nitrous oxide use over the summer months, and to limit the number of canisters that have been abandoned in local area.
“Our State Bodies and Local Authorities need to act now.