Change in law makes recreational use of laughing gas illegal
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People are being urged to be aware of a change in the law which means the recreational use of nitrous oxide, also known as ‘laughing gas’, is illegal.
As of 8th November, nitrous oxide is now classified as a Class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
That means it is a criminal offence to possess the drug in circumstances where a person intends to wrongfully inhale it – for example ‘to get high’.
The change in legislation provides officers with more options when dealing with those in possession and supplying nitrous oxide cannisters.
Those found in unlawful possession could receive a caution, an unlimited fine and a prison sentence with potentially a 14-year sentence for serious offences.
Nitrous oxide has been closely linked to anti-social behaviour and we are committed to tackling such issues in our communities along with drug-related crime.
Detective Chief Inspector Gez Wraith said: “We are urging people to make sure they’re familiar with the change in law and the risks associated with both possessing and inhaling nitrous oxide.
“Our officers are committed to tackling drug offences and support from the community remains critical to everything we do. We’re asking residents to be vigilant and look for signs of nitrous oxide in their communities.
“Anyone who wishes to report an incident or suspicious activity to us, can do so by calling 101. Independent charity Crimestoppers can also be contacted anonymously online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org or by phone on 0800 555 111.”