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Food and Drugs Authority Warns Against Laughing Gas Abuse in Ghana

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has issued a public caution against the abuse and misuse of nitrous oxide gas, commonly known as ‘laughing gas’, especially at nightclubs and parties.

According to the FDA, nitrous oxide gas is used as a propellant and a preservative in the food industry and as a medical anesthetic analgesic. Unfortunately, some people inhale the gas from balloons and canisters to induce euphoria and laughter, unaware of the serious health risks involved.

The FDA warns that the misuse of nitrous oxide gas is extremely dangerous and can cause low blood pressure, heart attack, anaemia, suffocation, loss of consciousness, and even death.

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They further added that the long-term recreational use of nitrous oxide gas can compromise the immune system, cause mental and neurological disorders, depression, and incontinence. Therefore, nightclubs, pubs, and party organizers should refrain from using nitrous oxide gas in their facilities.

On December 4, 2023, the Ghana Anaesthetists Society (GAS) and the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), issued a joint statement reiterating the dangers posed by the illicit use of nitrous oxide.

They stated that the usage of Nitrous Oxide drug can potentially compromise breathing, which can lead to fatalities in under 10 minutes. Therefore, it is crucial that the drug is administered only by healthcare professionals in a hospital setting.

“This mandates that Nitrous Oxide is used strictly by trained personnel (Anaesthesiologists) who have the requisite knowledge and skill to manage its side effects in a hospital environment,”

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The statement also affirmed the full support of the two health authorities for the FDA’s efforts to combat the abuse and misuse of the drug

“GAS, the professional body of all Doctor Anesthetists (Anaesthesiologists) in Ghana and the GMA. fully support the Food and Drugs Authority in its effort to clamp down the illicit use of Nitrous oxide.”

The FDA urges the public to promptly report cases of abuse while reaffirming their commitment to continuous public education, engagement, and sensitization regarding the risks of substance abuse.

 

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