The number of traffic incidents involving laughing gas is skyrocketing, the Dutch police said in a statement. "We see people making dangerous maneuvers in traffic because they are filling up a balloon or have one in the mouth", police inspector Paul Broer said. "Even thought the effect of laughing gas is short-lived, it has a direct effect on driving ability."
The number of reports of health problems caused by laughing gas is increasing rapidly in the Netherlands, according to figures from the national poisoning information center NVIC. The center calls this a "worrying development". Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema is looking into measures to curb the sale of laughing gas on the city streets.
Laughing gas may no longer be sold at events in Rotterdam or on and around the Nesselande beach in the city. Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb amended a police regulation to make this ban possible. It takes effect immediately, NOS reports.
Burn centers in the Netherlands are concerned about an increasing number of patients coming to them with ice burns after using laughing gas. Over the past three weeks, 14 people were admitted with severe freezing burns on the inside of their thighs. In all patients, the injuries were caused by them clamping an ice-cold laughing gas tank between their legs while filling balloons, NOS reports.
Online store Bol.com stopped selling laughing gas cylinders, meant to be use for whipped cream sprayers. The canisters are increasingly used in combination with balloons or N2O crackers as drugs, and Bol.com therefore finds it irresponsible to keep selling them, a spokesperson confirmed to NH Nieuws.
Doctors at the Maxima Medical Center are using a different approach to calm kids down when they end up in the hospital's emergency room - nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas. According to the hospital, it prevents these children suffering unnecessary pain and anxiety during treatment and also means that treatment can be done faster.
It seems that kids have rediscovered an easy way to get high - by inhaling nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, from whipped cream canisters. Behavioral expert Kees van Overveld fears that this could be a stepping stone to the use of soft drugs at a young age.