A COUNCILLOR has warned that ‘hippy crack’ is becoming an increasing problem in the borough.
Dukes Ward representative, Sir Ron Watson, says the substance - which is also known as laughing gas - is bought in cannisters and inhaled for a ‘high’ but is difficult to police as they can be bought legally due to a loophole in the law.
He said: “I came across a batch of canisters left in the gutter outside a house in my area. In normal circumstances I would simply use the gripper I have to pick litter such as this up and dispose of it as rubbish, but this is a different situation.
“I spoke to the police, who said that the cannisters are becoming more and more of an issue.
“Usually the gas is released into a balloon then inhaled. As a result a ‘high’ is experienced.
“This form of use can be dangerous but as of yet there is no law to prevent it. They are readily sold as catering supplies so frustratingly the offence would just be littering.
“I very much hope that this isn’t going to be a growing problem but we certainly need to be aware of it.”
Community Inspector Graham Fisher said: “It’s vital that people understand the risks of taking nitrous oxide, and to share this information.
“Like many psychoactive substances, it can cause serious health risks, including severe headaches, dizziness, paranoia, frostbite, and death.
"The longer-term risks are also still being understood, so we’d strongly urge people not to be so reckless as to take these or any controlled substances and pass on this advice if they believe people around them are doing so.”