Police in Strabane warn about the use of laughing gas

Nitrous oxide capsules Image copyright Psni
Image caption Nitrous oxide can cause dizziness

Police in a County Tyrone town have issued a warning about the use of laughing gas for recreational use.

Officers have said that a parent in Strabane found their child buying canisters online for a rave party.

Police said this was the first report that they have received of this type of substance abuse.

Nitrous oxide has many legitimate uses. Some people misuse it because it can make them feel euphoric.

This happy feeling has led to it being nicknamed 'laughing gas'. Some people have also experienced hallucinations.

The drug and alcohol awareness group Divert have said that people are unaware of the consequences.

Project worker Anne Marie McCourt told BBC Radio Foyle that it is a very dangerous drug to be using.

She said: "It is quite scary for us as youth workers that this is a new thing coming into Northern Ireland.

"The canisters are usually mixed with oxygen when you go to the doctors or dentists. I have spoken to people who have used it abroad where they inhaled it through a balloon. So it is being mixed and it is not in its purest form.

"This young person has bought the canisters in the purest form. When you inhale from the canister it goes into your lungs and pushes out the oxygen and can cause asphyxiation. My advice would be to stay away from it."

The police have said that they take the issue of illegal drugs, legal highs and substance abuse seriously and appreciate the help and support from the community.