If you were to take a walk through Westerpark in the morning, there would be a categorical “yes” when asking if the side effects of laughing gas are worth it. Hundreds of different coloured balloons are strewn throughout the park and there are even some people sleeping.
It was Milkshake festival over the weekend and people go to the “hill” of the park for good(ish) views and hit a few nossies to end the night. But laughing gas associated problems are on the rise, and health experts are concerned.
What are the health problems caused by laughing gas?
RTL reports that a study conducted by the National Poisons Information Centre (NVIC) showed an increase in the number of laughing gas-related health problems. Side effects included nausea, chest pain, impaired vision, headaches and even anxiety.
Issues are only increasing as in 2015 only 13 laughing gas related health problems were reported but this shot to 54 in 2018. We’re only halfway through 2019 but already over 67 cases have been reported.
Should there be concern?
The NVIC say we should be concerned about this rapid increase even though it is not certain that the health issues are definitively linked to laughing gas. Some doctors say some of the complainants could have a vitamin B12 deficiency.
The long-term effects of laughing gas has not yet been researched.
50 balloons in one day?!
The spokesperson for the NVIC, Eric Trinthamer, says it is getting more common for people to binge on the drug and he has seen cases where people inhale around 50 balloons in just a couple of days.
Ferdinand Grapperhaus, the Justice and Security Minister is discussing a possible prohibition on laughing gas. He comments “we have to do something with this” he said “young people just don’t realise how deadly the cocktail of alcohol and laughing gas is.”