December 11 2013 Latest news:
Joshua Fowler, Reporter
Friday, October 11, 2013
Empty canisters of “laughing gas” have been found scattered across Havering, sparking fears that youngsters may be inhaling the potentially deadly high.
Nitrous Oxide, also nicknamed whippits, is more commonly used by dentists to numb pain, but can also cause feelings of euphoria, dizziness and hallucinations when inhaled - typically using balloons.
Ken Holmes, of Havering Road, Romford, recently noticed the empty metal canisters strewn across pavements near his home, as well as in local parks and supermarket car parks.
He said: “In the last six weeks I have found them dozens of times. I ride my bike to Rise Park on Sunday mornings and I have found them in the park by the benches.
“I can’t think of anything other than kids using them. My 12-year-old daughter has had a drugs talk about them at her school.
“I just wonder how they get them. Years ago you used to see people sniffing glue, and this reminds me of that. It’s becoming such a prevalent thing.”
Laughing gas is not illegal, though it is illegal to sell it to anyone if you think they may inhale it.
It is the second most popular drug among youngsters, after cannabis, government stats show.
It is possible to become psychologically dependant on the drug, which can be especially dangerous when mixed with alcohol.
Anti-drugs activist Paul Hannaford, of Romford, has spoken to more than 40,000 pupils across Havering since kicking his crack cocaine addiction.
He says he began sniffing gas as a youngster, which led him on to harder narcotics.
“I went on to cannabis and cocaine,” he said. “By 21 I was a crack addict and my life was over.
“Kids are experimenting everyday to get a cheap high and my experience tells me that hundreds of schools are doing nothing about it.
“I’m aware of the laughing gas problem because kids have confided in me on Twitter, it’s huge. It’s scary to think kids are getting involved in this not knowing what it can lead to.”
Havering Police have confirmed they have also found the empty canisters around the borough.
A 41-year-old man has been stabbed at an address in Harold Hill.