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'Hippy crack' is more dangerous to vegans and veggies, EU drug agency says

'Hippy crack' is more dangerous to vegans and veggies, EU drug agency says

‘Hippie crack’ could be more dangerous for vegans and vegetarians, European Medicines Agency says

  • People on a meat- and dairy-free diet may be at higher risk for chronic disease
  • This is because they are more likely to already be deficient in vitamin B12
  • The request was made by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction

Vegans and vegetarians may be at greater risk when abusing laughing gas as a recreational drug, experts have warned.

People who follow a diet without meat or dairy products could be at risk of chronic disease from taking nitrous oxide because they are already deficient in vitamin B12, the European Medicines Agency has said. European Union.

A new report has also warned of the dangers posed by larger gas cylinders – dubbed “hippie crack” – being marketed to young people.

People who inhale the gas to get “high” are turning to the larger canisters, which “has led to an increase in frostbite and lung damage”, said the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

Large aerosols also promote “more regular and intensive use,” he added.

Among many dangerous side effects, nitrous oxide can cause “irreversible inactivation of vitamin B12,” according to the report.

“More and more people, especially young people, are choosing vegetarian and vegan diets low in this vitamin,” he said.

“Low levels of the vitamin increase the risk of chronic toxicity, especially nerve damage.

“For this reason, the level of vitamin B12 deficiencies in this group and the risk of chronic toxicity may need to be assessed.”

In Southgate, north London, local officers repeatedly encountered large piles of oversized canisters in public areas

In Southgate, north London, local officers repeatedly encountered large piles of oversized canisters in public areas

He added: “Vitamin B12 supplementation while continuing to use nitrous oxide does not appear to stop chronic toxicity.”

The smaller nitrous oxide cartridges – which are legitimately used in the restaurant industry – have been widely used for recreational drug use for at least a decade.

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The small silver canisters hold four liters of gas, but the larger ones can hold between 322 liters and 5,500 litres.

Doctors have told MailOnline that using nitrous oxide while driving is extremely dangerous as it deprives the brain of oxygen and impairs the senses

Doctors have told MailOnline that using nitrous oxide while driving is extremely dangerous as it deprives the brain of oxygen and impairs the senses

Large canisters have become commonly littered on UK streets over the past year. For example, the post-Carnival cleanup in London’s Notting Hill during the August bank holiday filled four skips with empty canisters.

Cartridges are usually used to inflate a party balloon, from which the gas is inhaled.

This leads to euphoria and hallucinations, and can cause giggles.

One in 11 people aged 16 to 24 reported taking laughing gas in 2019-20, according to the Crime Survey of England and Wales.

Amid growing concerns, the Government’s Advisory Council on Drug Abuse was asked to examine the harm caused by drugs last fall. He hasn’t reported yet.

What is nitrous oxide and is it illegal?

Nitrous oxide has been nicknamed “laughing gas” because of the feeling of euphoria and relaxation that people who inhale it can sometimes feel.

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The substance – also known as ‘hippy crack’ – is normally bought in pressurized canisters, usually transferred to a container, for example a balloon, from which the gas is inhaled.

Although possession of laughing gas is not illegal, English law prohibits its sale to those under 18 if there is a chance they will inhale it.

Nitrous oxide canisters and cigarette butts litter the side of a road in Camden Town on February 11

The effects of nitrous oxide vary depending on the amount inhaled, but include:

• Feelings of euphoria, relaxation and calm.

• Dizziness, difficulty thinking straight and fits of giggles.

• Sound distortions or even hallucinations.

• For some people, a headache may be an immediate side effect.

Risks include:

• Loss of consciousness or death from lack of oxygen. This happens when the oxygen available for breathing is effectively expelled by nitrous oxide.

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