German minister urges strict limits on ‘laughing gas’ sales

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German minister urges strict limits on 'laughing gas' sales

Germany's health minister, Karl Lauterbach, plans to introduce stricter rules to curb the sale of nitrous oxide, sometimes known as laughing gas, especially to young people, reported dpa.

The drug, which is used in medicine as an anaesthetic and for pain reduction, has become a particularly popular party drug among young people in Germany. The sale and consumption of nitrous oxide is not restricted under current law.

"We will come up with a regulation quickly," Lauterbach told public broadcaster ARD on Friday.

Among the possibilities is including nitrous oxide in the list of psychoactive substances, which come with very strict rules for sale and possession.

He said that a complete ban would not be possible because nitrous oxide is used for industrial purposes as well.

"We are now tackling this very quickly," assured the minister.

Until the government takes action, Lauterbach recommended that parents educate their children: "It may sound fun and harmless, but it's not," the minister warned.

Regular consumption could lead to accidents or even neurological damage, and permanent damage cannot be ruled out either, he said.

"It's very dangerous for children and young people," said Lauterbach.

Cologne-based physician Volker Limmroth told ARD that tough restrictions are needed to control the availability of nitrous oxide.

So far, it has been legal, cheap and available, he said.

"They now even have it at the kiosk next to every school. And that has to stop. The availability must be interrupted," he said. "An anaesthetic does not belong on general sale, it belongs in the hands of doctors – and not between the gummy bears."

The German Society of Neurology has recently also warned of the dangers of nitrous oxide and that recreational consumption of the drug is increasing, particularly among teenagers and young adults.


1 Comment
  1. EmmaJones says

    As a concerned parent, I completely agree with Minister Lauterbach’s urgency in regulating the sale of nitrous oxide. It is crucial to protect our children from the potential dangers of this drug. Education and strict controls are essential for preventing harm and ensuring safety.

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