It is not unusual to find nitrous oxide canisters while walking through open spaces at Kingston University’s halls of residence, which is why the university has now taken action by putting up posters in common rooms about deaths related to the drug use.
The advice was posted in all the halls of residence to alert students to the long term effects and dangers associated with the recreational usage of the gas.
Pure nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, can only legally by medical staff and is used as anaesthetic during surgeries and also for dental treatment.
However, from as early as 1799 the gas started being used for recreation purposes by the British upper class when “laughing gas parties” were held to experience euphoria and slight hallucinations.
Zero-tolerance approach to illegal drugs
According to KU Hall of Residences’ terms and conditions, “Kingston University has a zero-tolerance approach to illegal drugs and drug-dealing on all university premises, including halls of residence” and they work closely with the police “to combat illegal drug use to ensure that students can live and study in a safe environment.”
Inhalation of nitrous oxide causes short-term decreases in mental performance, audio visual ability, and manual dexterity and long-term exposure can cause vitamin B12 deficiency, numbness, reproductive side effects in pregnant females, and other problems according to the Comprehensive Handbook of Drug and Alcohol Addiction.
Students experiencing difficulties with laughing gas or other drugs can get support and guidance from the Health and Counselling team at the University and also contact the Kingston Community Drugs and Alcohol Team on 020 8336 8911 for further help.