Marwa Orders Nationwide Clampdown On Illegal Sale, Use Of ‘Laughing Gas’

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has directed all commands and formations of the Agency to begin an immediate clampdown on the illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas following its abuse by people who use it for recreational purposes.

A statement on Tuesday, 11th July 2023 signed by the NDLEA Director of Media & Advocacy, Femi Babafemi said that Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas that is commonly used for sedation and pain relief, more often by dentists and medical professionals to sedate patients undergoing minor medical procedures. Popularly called laughing gas or N20, it is fast emerging as a drug in demand in Nigeria by young party-goers or fun-seekers to feel intoxicated or high. The gas is often transferred from its containers into balloons, from where it’s inhaled for euphoric effects.

The NDLEA in a statement on Tuesday 11th July said the decision to clampdown on those involved in the illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide, follows an analysis of the effects on those who abuse the substance, which include: dizziness; disorientation, headache; lightheadedness; fainting spells; hallucinations; falling unconscious and/or suffocating from lack of oxygen; and other neurological complications, especially psychiatric symptoms. 

The Agency said pending when other measures are taken in consultation with other stakeholders especially the Federal Ministry of Health, to curb the menace, it will not hesitate to wield the big stick against anyone, no matter their social status, involved in illegal sale or use of nitrous oxide in the overall interest of public health.

It urges parents, guardians, and other stakeholders to be vigilant, alert, and warn their young ones against attempting to experiment with or abusing the substance, which poses threats to their mental and overall well-being.