The Dutch government will prohibit the use of nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, due to concerns over health risks for the increasing number of young people who use it.
The BBC have reported that from January 2023 it will be illegal to buy, sell or own the gas. However, the authorities have noted that it will still be permitted to use it for medicinal purposes and in the food industry.
The Dutch government has also expressed hopes that the ban will reduce the number of road traffic accidents that have been linked to the drug. According to the road safety watchdog TeamAlert, nitrous oxide has been linked to 1,800 accidents across the Netherlands over the last three years.
In recent years nitrous oxide has grown in popularity amongst clubbers and festival-goers and is often used in combination with other drugs. A poll by the Trimbos Institute revealed that more than 37% of Dutch party-goers use laughing gas on a regular basis.
However, there are major concerns about the impact that the drug can have on the brain and the body, with the Dutch State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport Maarten van Ooije saying that “the recreational use of nitrous oxide leads to enormous health risks”.
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