Police warning after rise in reports of ‘hippie crack’ users in Stevenage

PUBLISHED: 15:12 05 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:12 05 August 2020

Stevenage police are warning of a rise in laughing gas users in the town. Picture: Herts police

Stevenage police are warning of a rise in laughing gas users in the town. Picture: Herts police

Archant

Young people in Stevenage are being warned of the dangers of using nitrous oxide (N20), following an increase in reports of people using the drug in the town.

Police say there have been reports of young people using laughing gas in Ridlins Playing Fields, Canterbury Way Playing Fields and The Oval Community Gardens.

Now, they’re warning young people of the dangers of inhaling the drug.

Neighbourhood Sergeant Nic Achilleos said: “Young people must realise that this seemingly harmless activity can actually cause serious damage to their health, or worse.

“The use of nitrous oxide is not illegal, however selling or giving it away for recreational purposes is prohibited under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

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“Those who are found to be doing so can face a fine and a prison sentence of up to seven years.”

Although nitrous oxide, which is also known as ‘hippie crack’, is not a dangerous substance if used correctly for medical purposes, it can become addictive.

If it is taken incorrectly the user may risk injury, or even death, from lack of oxygen. This is because when it enters the lungs, the gas displaces the air and temporarily prevents as much – or in some cases any – oxygen getting into the blood.

When used on a long-term basis, nitrous oxide can lead to a number of health issues including incontinence and nerve damage.

Police are appealing for members of the public to get in touch if they have any information about particular areas where you believe people may be using N20.

You can report information online at herts.police.uk/report, speak to an officer online via web chat at herts.police.uk/contact or call the non-emergency 101 number.

For further information on nitrous oxide and its effects, visit the Talk to Frank website.


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