Nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas, will be classified as a class C drug in the UK and will be illegal by the end of the year.
The British Government has confirmed the situation and declares that those found producing or selling this substance could face a sentence of up to 14 years in prison at the end of 2023.
Currently, nitrous oxide is prohibited in the country when it is in recreational possession, however, possession is not.
It is commonly used in nightclubs, festivals and other nighttime settings, and is now the second most used recreational drug in the UK.
The recent attack against this substance also comes after a report published earlier this year revealed that the misuse of laughing gas can cause damage to the spine. Despite the findings – carried out by health professionals at Barts Health NHS Trust in London – the Independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs advised the Government against a ban, arguing that the punishment would be disproportionate to the harm caused by the substance.
Regarding the Government’s decision to make nitrous oxide illegal by the end of 2023, a Home Office spokesperson said (via MixMag): “We’re cleaning up our streets and tackling anti-social behaviour. years imprisonment or an unlimited fine.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman agreed, warning consumers of the dire consequences ahead: “The British public are fed up with thugs abusing drugs in public spaces and leaving a disgusting mess in their wake.
“At the beginning of the year, the Prime Minister and I promised no tolerance for anti-social behaviour, and that is what we are doing,” he said. “If you are caught using ‘laughing gas’ as a drug, you can face a heavy fine or imprisonment.”
From now on, legitimate uses of nitrous oxide, for example in medicine or hospitality, will be exempt from harsh consequences.
This is not the first time that the British Government has made efforts to combat the use of “we”. In 2021, the then Home Secretary Priti Patel threatened to take “tough action” against young people who used laughing gas.
“[El óxido nitroso] cause serious long-term effects, such as vitamin B12 deficiency and anaemia,” he said, later acknowledging the “catastrophic impact” it can have on communities. “We are determined to do everything we can to address this issue and protect the future. for our children and young people”.
Additionally, in 2015, the British Government announced that it would ban “any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect.” That same year, Glastonbury festival organizers also banned the substance. This decision was made after two tonnes of empty nitrous oxide turkeys were collected at the festival the previous year.