Monday 17 January 2022

Pressure grows for laughing gas ban as abuse concerns mount

Laughing gas capsules dumped by the side of a road in Amsterdam. Photo: DutchNews.nl

Amsterdam city council is being asked to consider banning the sale of laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, after a number of youngsters were taken ill during the King’s Day festivities.

Wil van Soest, a councillor for the pensioners’ party 50Plus, has asked the city’s executive board to consider banning the sale of the gas under local bylaws. ‘Several dozen’ people had to be helped by ambulance staff after using the drug on Saturday, according to early media reports.

According to the Parool, a ban on the sale of the gas capsules has already been brought in in Alkmaar and Hoorn during events.

In addition, a spokesman for junior health minister Paul Blokhuis told the Parool that there are concerns that voluntary rules worked out with wholesalers and the hospitality sector to limit the sale of the gas are not bearing fruit.

While Bol.com has stopped selling the gas altogether and wholesalers such as Sligro limit the sale to legitimate buyers, it may be that more needs to be done, the spokesman said.

The health ministry said last year it wants to make it more difficult for teenagers to buy laughing gas following a report by addiction clinic Trimbos on the rising use of the drug by youngsters.

That research showed over 37% of Dutch party goers use laughing gas on a regular basis and that young adults are the most likely to do so.

Although laughing gas is relatively safe it is not without dangers and its long-term effects on children has not been researched.

Dozens of little companies have sprung up in the Netherlands selling and delivering laughing gas to party goers since courts ruled the gas should not be treated as a medicinal drug.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl

The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments.

DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.