NDLEA launches statewide crackdown hours after a Nigerian doctor called out Olamide for sharing a photo with a Nitrous Oxide cannister in the background.
Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), Chairman/CEO of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, has directed all commands and formations of the Agency to begin an immediate clampdown on the illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, following its abuse by people who use it for recreational purposes.
According to a statement issued today by NDLEA spokesperson Femi Babafemi, nitrous oxide is a colourless gas that is often used for sedation and pain treatment, particularly by dentists and medical professionals to calm patients undergoing minor medical operations.
It is quickly becoming as a substance in demand in Nigeria among youthful partygoers or fun-seekers who want to feel inebriated or high. It is commonly referred to as laughing gas or N20. The gas is frequently transferred from its cylinders into balloons and inhaled for euphoric effects.
The NDLEA in a statement on Tuesday 11th July reads:
Marwa orders nationwide clampdown on illegal sale, use of ‘laughing gas’
Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has directed all commands and formations of the Agency to begin an immediate clampdown on illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas following its abuse by people who use it for recreational purposes.
Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas that is commonly used for sedation and pain relief, more often by dentists and medical professionals to sedate patients undergoing minor medical procedures. Popularly called laughing gas or N20, it is fast emerging as a drug in demand in Nigeria by young party-goers or fun-seekers to feel intoxicated or high. The gas is often transferred from its containers into balloons, from where its inhaled for euphoric effects.
The NDLEA in a statement on Tuesday 11th July said the decision to clampdown on those involved in illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide, follows analysis of the effects on those who abuse the substance, which include: dizziness; disorientation, headache; light headedness; fainting spells; hallucinations; falling unconscious and/or suffocating from lack of oxygen; and other neurological complications especially psychiatric symptoms.
The Agency said pending when other measures are taken in consultation with other stakeholders especially the Federal Ministry of Health, to curb the menace, it will not hesitate to wield the big stick against anyone, no matter their social status, involved in illegal sale or use of nitrous oxide in the overall interest of public health.
It urges parents, guardians and other stakeholders to be vigilant, alert and warn their young ones against attempting experimenting or abusing the substance, which poses threats to their mental and overall wellbeing.
Director, Media & Advocacy
NDLEA Headquarters, Abuja
Tuesday 11th July 2023