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Commonly known as 'laughing gas' nitrous oxide is a colourless non-flammable gas that is generally used for sedation and pain relief. Inhalants are central nervous system CNS depressants. This means they slow down the workings of the brain, particularly breathing and heart. Download the nitrous oxide fact sheet. The gas is typically inhaled through balloons filled with canisters of the gas.
Serious damage can be done to the lungs if the gas is inhaled directly from capsules or cylinders. When inhaled, the fumes enter the bloodstream very quickly and the effects are felt after just a few seconds.
The effects may start to be felt immediately and can last from 2 — 3 minutes; some effects may last up to 30 — 40 minutes. Mixing nitrous oxide and alcohol can cause:.
Mixing nitrous oxide with alcohol can also increase the risks associated with both substances and can lead to an increased risk of accidents or death. The chances of an overdose are increased if taken with other depressants drugs such as benzodiazepines or opiates. Using nitrous oxide with other depressants can affect breathing rate and the heart and blood vessels. Mixing drugs can also increase the risk of passing out and suffocating or chocking on vomit. Whilst the risk of overdose from nitrous oxide is low people with heart conditions or abnormal blood pressure may be at higher risk as the drop in oxygen levels caused by inhaling the gas raises the heart rate, which could cause problems.
When inhaling directly from bulbs, the gas is intensely cold C degrees and can cause frostbite to the nose, lips and throat including vocal cords. As the gas is also under constant pressure, it can cause ruptures in lung tissue when inhaled directly from these containers. Releasing the nitrous oxide into a balloon helps to warm the gas and normalise the pressure before inhaling. People can also harm themselves if they use faulty gas dispensers, which may explode.
If you can't wake someone up or you are concerned that they may have sustained a head injury from a drug related fall — call an ambulance immediately. Always phone triple zero for an ambulance and tell the operator that the person has overdosed the police will usually not come unless the person dies or becomes violent.
You should also:. If the person has been mixing nitrous oxide with other drugs, tell the NSW Ambulance paramedic exactly what they have taken. Paramedics are there to help. The use of any drug during pregnancy is potentially harmful to both the mother and unborn. Inform antenatal staff, or your local doctor, of any drug use and attend regular antenatal check-ups. Visit www. For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drugs 24 hours, 7 days a week, call the National Alcohol and Other Drugs Hotline It will automatically direct you to the Alcohol and Drug Service in the state or territory you are calling from.
The Ministry of Health wishes to advise that this website may contain names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. It may also contain links to sites that may use images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
You are here:. Is nitrous oxide a problem for you? What is nitrous oxide? Body Content 1. It is also sometimes referred to as an inhalant or a volatile substance. Nitrous Oxide N2O. Body Content 2. Effects depend on Body Content 3. How nitrous oxide affects your body Tap on a body part to learn more of the effects nitrous oxide places on your body. General information Effects of nitrous oxide. Immediate effects The effects may start to be felt immediately and can last from 2 — 3 minutes; some effects may last up to 30 — 40 minutes. Effects of prolonged use used more than once a week may include: memory loss vitamin B12 depletion long-term depletion causes brain and nerve damage anaemia incontinence numbness in the hands or feet limb spasms potential birth defects if consumed during pregnancy weakened immune system disruption to reproductive systems Psychological effects may include: depression psychological dependence psychosis.
Mixing nitrous oxide and alcohol can cause: Confusion Feeling heavy or sluggish Reduced concentration Loss of body control Mixing nitrous oxide with alcohol can also increase the risks associated with both substances and can lead to an increased risk of accidents or death.
If you can't wake someone up or you are concerned that they may have sustained a head injury from a drug related fall — call an ambulance immediately Always phone triple zero for an ambulance and tell the operator that the person has overdosed the police will usually not come unless the person dies or becomes violent. You should also: if the person is unconscious, put them on their side, in the recovery position stay with the person try not to panic check their breathing, clear their airway do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation if they stop breathing If the person has been mixing nitrous oxide with other drugs, tell the NSW Ambulance paramedic exactly what they have taken.
For counselling and support services for CALD communities call 02 Nepean Youth Drug and Alcohol Service NYDAS works within a holistic model of care to address a range of issues for young people 12 years of age related to their alcohol and other drug use. Call 02 or 02 Call 13 11 26 ahmrc. Counselling is offered by web, or call 55 Visit tafensw. Follow the links to student services, careers and counselling. Use the search option to access a directory of NSW youth services.
You can also call 02 Body Content 4.Side effects of balloons
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Recreational nitrous oxide use: Prevalence and risks