SOLIHULL Council is taking steps to address nitrous oxide misuse in the borough following concerns about its negative health, environmental and social impacts.
Also referred to as NOS, smart whip, balloons or laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a colourless gas mostly sold in pressurised metal canisters.
Typically used as anaesthetic and for making whipped cream, increasing numbers of young adults nationwide are inhaling the gas for its psychoactive effects.
It is illegal to give away or sell nitrous oxide for these psychoactive effects.
The risks associated with recreational nitrous oxide use include, falling unconscious, oxygen deprivation, as well as spinal cord and nerve damage, which can lead to temporary paralysis.
Coun Tony Dicicco, cabinet member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “People inhaling nitrous oxide is a growing problem nationally, but it is particularly concerning to see the issue beginning to affect our local communities.
“Several of our litter picking groups have reported finding large numbers of discarded cannisters on their rounds: in car parks, lay-bys, parks, woodland areas, and other green spaces, as well as in residential areas.
“We are working closely with schools and colleges, with parents, businesses, health professionals, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner and community groups to improve awareness of the harms linked to nitrous oxide.
“Fundamentally, we all have a role to play in helping tackle its misuse.”