The Dutch government is implementing a large number of rules, regulations, and law changes at the stroke of midnight on January 1. Below is a summary of changes made in the category Justice, Security and Defense:
Nitrous oxide will become a controlled substance under the Opium Act in the Netherlands to curb the growing use of the chemical compound more commonly known as laughing gas. The substance will be added to the "List II" classification under the law, alongside drugs like hashish, diazepam, lorazepam and butabarbital, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport said in a statement.
A 23-year-old man was arrested in Ede on Thursday evening for causing dangerous traffic situations by using laughing gas while driving. The man was using laughing gas while being chased by the police, and even filmed the police chase - all while driving a car, the police said.
Political leaders in Utrecht have introduced a plan to ban laughing gas in five specific areas, according to broadcaster RTV Utrecht. The drug will also be prohibited at festivals and public events if the plan from the mayor and alderpersons is approved by city council.
The proposal targets neighborhoods where use of the gas is seen as excessive and a source of irritation for community workers. It includes Kanaleneiland-Noord, Lombok-Oost, Overvecht Zuid, Wesley Sneijderpark, and Zambesidreefbuurt, wrote AD.
While alcohol remains the number one cause of addiction problems in Amsterdam,young adult residents of the capital are drinking less than they did in 2000. There are also fewer smokers, though cocaine use increased, according to the newest Antenna, an annual study by Jellinek and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences into the alcohol and drug use of Amsterdam young adults, Het Parool reports.
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.