We need to urgently reclassify Nitrous Oxide as a controlled substance

barry andrews mep

Barry Andrews, Fianna Fáil MEP representing Dublin, has reiterated his appeal to the Irish Government to designate nitrous oxide as a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977. MEP Andrews is renewing his call following reports from Doctors at a Dublin hospital that there is an  increased number of teenagers presenting with frostbite injuries following the inhalation of the dangerous substance, known as ‘Laughing Gas’.

Andrews stated “The Irish Government needs to take action and align with the recent decisions of other EU Member States and amend existing legislation to restrict possession of Nitrous Oxide, popularly known as laughing gas. “The situation is worsening, evidenced by a growing number of severe frostbite cases linked to gas usage. Given the well-known life-altering side effects of the gas, one wonders why we haven’t aligned with our European counterparts in restricting possession of this substance.”

“The Netherlands, Belgium and the UK have taken measures to prohibit its recreational use, indicating a shift even in nations known for progressive views on drug use. The Government must urgently amend existing legislation to prevent laughing gas becoming this century’s ‘gateway drug’ for young people.”

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.”

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.

“It’s disturbing that this substance can be easily purchased from online retailers who boast about its ability to ‘create memorable moments’, all the while emphasising the anonymity it provides to the buyer.”

Andrews concludes with a stark warning: “Despite being marketed as safe by online retailers touting its European production, free delivery, and a variety of flavours, I’m concerned this creates a dangerous misconception among young people regarding the safety of nitrous oxide. The momentary euphoria it provides is not worth the potentially life-altering and fatal consequences. The Government must take action to safeguard our youth.”

Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks

Sarah has worked in marketing and content creation for many years. In her role at Newsgroup, she is the online editor of www.newsgroup.ie 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 info@newsgroup.ie.



Related News