Laughing gas to be criminalised today as ministers crackdown on drug abuse

People who repeatedly misuse nitrous oxide could face up to two years in prison, while the maximum punishment for dealing will double to 14 years.

The crackdown, pledged as part of the government’s Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan, will make nitrous oxide a controlled Class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Crime and Policing Minister Chris Philp said: “We are delivering on the promise we made to take a zero-tolerance approach towards antisocial behaviour and flagrant drug taking in our public spaces.

“Abuse of nitrous oxide is also dangerous to people’s health and today we are sending a clear signal to young people that there are consequences for misusing drugs. Both users and dealers will face the full force of the law for their actions.”     

People with a legitimate reason for possessing the substance will be exempt from the ban, such as those in catering and when used as pain relief during labour.

Licences will not be required to carry nitrous oxide but people will need to show they are lawfully in possession of it, and not intending to consume it for psychoactive effects.

READ MORE Laughing gas ban will see dealers face up to 14 years in prison

John Hayward-Cripps, chief executive of Neighbourhood Watch, said: “As consumption of nitrous oxide has increased over the years, there has been a connected increase in reports of anti-social behaviour, including the littering of nitrous oxide canisters.

“For communities across the country, the banning of the substance under new legislation will be a positive move towards tackling anti-social behaviour, and making local communities a better and safer place to live.

“Once the legislation has come into effect, we encourage members of the public to report any illegal consumption of nitrous oxide or other drugs to their local police.”

Home Secretary Suella Brvaerman earlier this year urged police forces to get tough on flagrant drug taking in local communities, with reports linking nitrous oxide to anti-social behaviour such as intimidating gatherings on high streets and in children’s parks.

Environmental campaigners have also raised concerns about empty canisters scattered across public spaces.

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Source: Read Full Article