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Alcohol & Drug Info

NOS: Nitrous Oxide

What is NOS?

NOS is the street name for a tasteless and colourless gas called Nitrous Oxide (N20).

Is NOS safe to use?

Mixed with oxygen and used for medical purposes (using tanks and cylinders) nitrous oxide is seen as a safe product to use. Used recreationally (mostly in small canisters/chargers but sometimes tanks and cylinders), largely without oxygen, it has its risks.

What are the short term risks?

Short term risks can include brain damage, asphyxiation, tissue damage, lung damage, hearing loss, choking and accidents.

What are the long term risks?

Long term risks may include addiction and dependency, spinal chord damage, vitamin B12/folic acid depletion, decreased fertility, decreased immunity to infections, bone marrow damage, and emotional and mental health problems.

Who is most at risk?

Those most at risk are pregnant woman, people with immune deficiencies, individuals with respiratory or cardiac and blood pressure problems as well as people with hearing or middle ear problems.

What does the law say about NOS?

Nitrous Oxide is classified as a prescription medicine under the Medicines Act 1981 and therefore this means that the sale of NOS without prescription is illegal.

Want more information?

For more comprehensive information about NOS contact FADE to order our new NOS: What you need to know pamphlet.

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Alternatively you can phone 09 444 1705