Nitrous Oxide Use Among Young Adults ‘More Dangerous Than Cocaine,’ Neurologist Warns

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by StudyFinds.

A neurologist says nitrous oxide is “more dangerous than cocaine,” and some teens and young adults may be using over 150 canisters in a single day! The substance is better known as laughing gas, but also referred to “hippie crack” or “nos.” It’s one of the most commonly used drugs among 16 to 24-year-olds in the United Kingdom alone, government officials say.

Dr. David Nicholl, consultant neurologist and clinical lead at City Hospital in Birmingham, says he now sees more patients struggling with side effects of nos than cocaine abuse. He adds the volume of this gas that youngsters are consuming has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic.

Nitrous oxide, commonly sold in single-use silver canisters, fills up balloons that users then inhale to create a temporary feeling of relaxation and euphoria. It’s a popular recreational “drug” of choice for concertgoers, particularly fans of Grateful Dead-like jam bands like Phish, hence the term “hippie crack.” People can often be found in the parking lots outside shows with nitrous tanks selling balloons to concertgoers, who then suck the gas from the balloon for a quick high.

However, heavy regular use can lead to a range of side-effects which include dizziness, weakness in the legs, and impaired memory.

“I’ve been a neurologist for 21 years and have seen a definite change in how it’s being used, since the pandemic,” Dr. Nicholl says, according to a statement from SWNS.

“Compared to before, now the volumes of nitrous oxide being consumed can be quite terrifying – up to 150 cylinders per day. It’s perceived as safe – and terms like ‘laughing gas’ are especially unhelpful because it makes it sound trivial. But the stuff bought on the street is pure nitrous oxide and not safe for human consumption,” the neurologist warns.

Nicholl explains that nitrous oxide is easily accessible at shopping centers like Walmart and on social media.

Source: StudyFinds

Help us reach the next generation of families

Back to Top

[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

  • About HomeWord

    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns, HomeWord seeks to advance the work of God in the world by educating, equipping, and encouraging parents and churches. Learn More »

  • Support Our Mission

    HomeWord is non-profit, donor supported ministry. If you would like to partner with HomeWord in our effort to help more parents and families you can make a donation. Your investment will allow us to expand this ministry by offering more resources to families and churches in need.

  • Contact Information

    • HomeWord
      PO Box 1600
      San Juan Capistrano, CA

    • Send us an email

    • 800-397-9725
      (M-F: 8:30am-5pm PST)