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Laughing Gas’s Last Laugh? ::

Reported by Olly @ Trackitdown on February 26, 2007

An inquest into the death of Daniel Watts, 23, whose body was discovered in his Midlands home last September next to a a large cylinder of nitrous oxide, heard last week that the ticket agency boss died after suffocating himself by inhaling too much gas.


His death prompted a wave of articles in the British press about the increasing popularity of nitrous oxide at middle class dinner parties, with the Standard’s columnist Charlotte Ross criticising the trend.


“The effect, I’m told, is an instant but short lived euphoria, which leads revellers to inhale again and again, and has earned it the nickname ‘hippie crack’,” she said.


“ I prefer to call it what it is- middle class solvent abuse. We’re quick to condemn kids from estates who sniff aerosols but this is exactly the same thing, except it’s being done at dinner parties,” she sniffed.


The Sunday Times, meanwhile, interviewed clininal psychologist Professor Donald Singer who called for an ‘ethical debate’ about whether it should be criminalised.


"People think it's safe to take it by filling balloons with it and then inhaling the balloons. Sometimes they then also spin around and become dizzy and euphoric at the same time. Clearly the danger is that you are out of control,” the Professor claimed,


“The other risk is the longer term problem for people who do it repeatedly. There are reports of long term damage to brain and bone marrow,” he added.


In more drug health news, doctors in Honolulu published research into the long term effects of crystal meth use this week, and revealed that users are 3.7 times more likely to develop cardiomyopathy (heart disease) than non users, with the condition now ‘a relatively common problem."


"The heart loses the ability to contract” said  Dr.  Irwin Schatz, professor of medicine and cardiologist in the University of Hawaii, “Many meth users were operating at 30 to 50 percent efficiency, he said.” (Honolulu Star-Bulletin). (‘They Call It Hippie Crack for a Reason- Nitrous Oxide’) (‘The principal occupational health hazards associated with nitrous oxide exposure of healthcare workers are the potential for effects upon the bone . . .’)



Jonty Skrufff (