Home > Recreational use of nitrous oxide: a growing concern for Europe.

European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. (2022) Recreational use of nitrous oxide: a growing concern for Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. 10.2810/2003.

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The purpose of this report is to examine the current situation, risks and responses to the recreational use of nitrous oxide in Europe. To support this, the report also provides a state-of-the-art review of the chemistry, pharmacology and toxicology of the gas. It is intended for policymakers and practitioners.

The report is structured as follows:

  • Section 1 provides a summary of the current situation, established risks and responses.
  • Section 2 is a technical review of the chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, individual risks and legitimate uses.
  • Section 3 provides an overview of the epidemiology and social risks. In addition, it includes detailed country case studies from Denmark, France, Ireland, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Portugal. A case study is also provided on the United Kingdom, where the use of nitrous oxide has been established in young people for a longer period, and these experiences, including the response, may be helpful in informing responses in other countries (even though the UK is no longer a member of the EMCDDA, having left the EU on 31 December 2020).

P.57-61 Case study 5: Ireland - At present, nitrous oxide is not a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977. It can be legally sold for catering and industrial purposes. The Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Act 2010 prohibits the sale, importation or exportation of psychoactive substances; under this legislation, it is illegal to sell nitrous oxide for its psychoactive properties....

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, International, Report
Drug Type
Inhalents and solvents
Intervention Type
Prevention, Harm reduction, Screening / Assessment
November 2022
Identification #
86 p.
Publications Office of the European Union
Corporate Creators
European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
Place of Publication
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