Thursday 19 September 2019

Rotterdam to ban laughing gas at festivals, mayor says

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

Rotterdam mayor Achmed Aboutaleb is planning to introduce a ban on the use of laughing gas at events and festivals, he told local broadcaster RTV Rijnmond.

The ban will come into effect mid July, the broadcaster said.

The mayor has also asked the justice ministry to consider placing nitrous oxide back on the list of official medicines. 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.

Leeuwarden is also considering implementing a ban from next year and councillors in Amsterdam have also called on the city to ban the use of the gas during events.

A spokesman for junior health minister Paul Blokhuis told the Parool in April he is concerned 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.

Teenagers

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.

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