Parents warned their teenage kids could end up PARALYSED if they use popular recreational drug | The Sun

PARENTS have been warned that their children are risking paralysis if they use a popular recreational drug.

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is commonly used at festivals.

The drug is often sold in little silver containers, which are sometimes seen littering the streets.

Now experts have warned that there has been an increase in neurological injuries from what some have described as a laughing gas 'epidemic'.

Academic neurologist at the University of Nottingham, Dr Nikos Evangelou said there is 'no doubt', there has been a rise in cases.

He said that this was almost unknown last year and that now there are weekly cases of spinal cord and nerve damage.

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The most recent data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales shows that almost nine per cent of 16-24-year-olds said they had take the party drug in the last year.

This is up fro 6.1 per cent in 2012-2013.

Posting on Twitter Dr Evangelou said: "Terrifying to see paralysed young people from laughing gas canisters."

Other medics have also highlighted the issue, with one expert claiming some kids have suffered life-changing injuries.

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"We’re seeing dozens of young people coming into hospital because they’re off their legs; some of them have life-changing neurological injuries", neurologist at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS trust, DrDavid Nicholl said in a TikTok video.

In the video he had been holding the metal canisters which he said he had picked up off the floor on the way to work.

He urged all health care professionals who have young patients who are presenting with unexplained neurological issues to ask them if they had used the drug.

Dr Nicholl said they should also be asking kids where they have sourced the laughing gas and if they hand over the name, to report them to trading standards.

"This stuff should only really be used by the catering industry.

"It is illegal to supply it for recreational use. Just this month there was a guy in Cardiff who has gone to jail for supplying thousands of these canisters," he added.

What is nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas that when inhaled can make people feel euphoric and relaxed.

The effects of the gas have seen it nicknamed "laughing gas", but it can also cause some people to have hallucinations.

The effects are caused by the drug slowing down the brain.

Nitrous oxide is normally bought in pressurised canisters. It is then transferred to a container such as a balloon to be inhaled.

Speaking to The Guardian Dr Mark Ellul, a specialist registrar in neurology based in Liverpool said it wasn't previously known how dangerous the drug was.

He said that in some cases the aftermath can be quite severe and long-lasting.

A previous study found that patients who used the canisters had rapidly progressive neurological symptoms after using them.

Medics in Strasbourg found that five patients were admitted to a tertiary care centre between April 2020 and February 2021 after taking the drugs.

Lead author, Maximilian Einsiedler. said: "When I did a retrospective analysis of all patients admitted in 10 years prior to April 2020, not a single patient had been diagnosed with neurological complications due to nitrous oxide abuse at our hospital."

Nitrous oxide can cause dizziness and affect your judgement, creating a risk of accidents.

In large quantities it can also cause the user to faint or pass out.

If nitrous oxide is inhaled through the mouth from a pressurised gas canister or in a confined space it can cause sudden death through lack of oxygen.

Heavy, regular use of the drug can cause a deficiency of vitamin B12 and a form of anaemia.

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One woman was left paralysed from the chest down after inhaling 15 balloons of 'hippy crack' every weekend. For more information, see drugs advice site, Frank.

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