Posted: Fri 5th Jan 2024

Connah’s Quay: Police vow ‘positive action’ over nitrous oxide abuse

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Jan 5th, 2024

Police have said they will take ‘positive action’ following the discovery of a large quantity of used nitrous oxide canisters in Connah’s Quay.

The discarded small silver canisters were found discarded in the area of Fisherman’s Road,

Officers have vowed to increase patrols in the area and enforce the new law against wrongful inhalation of nitrous oxide, commonly known as ‘laughing gas’.

A post on the North Flintshire Police Facebook page states: “A large quantity of nitrous oxide canisters have been found discarded in the area of Fisherman’s Road, Connahs Quay.”

“Did you know that it is now illegal to possess nitrous oxide for ‘wrongful inhalation’.”

“Local authority [council] have been contacted to clear them.”

“Patrols will be increased in the area and positive action will be taken.”

The substance was classified as illegal in November under the new legislation.

Under the new law, nitrous oxide is now a controlled Class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

This means that repeat serious users could face up to two years in prison, and dealers could face up to 14 years.

The legislation specifically targets possession of nitrous oxide with the intent to inhale it wrongfully, such as for achieving a psychoactive effect.

The consequences of such possession are severe, including an unlimited fine, visible community punishment, a caution on the criminal record, and even a prison sentence for repeat offenders.

This change in law responds to studies linking nitrous oxide to antisocial behaviour, including intimidating gatherings in public spaces and drug driving, which poses significant health risks and potentially fatal consequences.

The misuse of nitrous oxide has been a growing concern, with its heavy and regular abuse leading to health issues like anaemia, nerve damage, or even paralysis.

However, there are exemptions to the ban for those with legitimate reasons for possessing nitrous oxide.

It remains lawful for use in catering and as pain relief in maternity wards during labour. Individuals found with the substance will need to demonstrate lawful possession and no intent for psychoactive consumption.

The maximum sentence for production, supply, importation, or exportation of the drug for unlawful purposes has now been doubled, from seven to 14 years’ imprisonment.

Moreover, producers and suppliers have a responsibility to ensure their products are not misused, with penalties for those who turn a blind eye to potential abuse.

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