Illegal Nitrous Oxide; It’s No Laughing Matter

BNine vendors were arrested Thursday after police raided Khaosan Road for illegal sales of laughing gas.

Police Maj. Gen. Sukhun Phrommayon said the nine vendors selling nitrous oxide, popularly known as “laughing gas,” were charged for selling medicine without a license.

Sukhun said the raid was made afteri an informant informed authorities of the illicit gas being sold on Khaosan Road. Health officials have warned against the recreational use of the gas, in which partygoers inhale the gas, sold in balloons, to bring on euphoria and hallucinations.

“An overdose can cause vomiting, disorientation, and even the loss of consciousness,” Food and Drugs Administration sec-gen Tares Krassanairawiwong said. “Prolonged use can lead to numbness of hands and feet, or even deaths as the gas can replace oxygen in the bloodstream.”

Under Thai law, nitrous oxide is a controlled medicine, which can only be administered for health purposes. The gas is used to induce anesthesia during operations, but is also used to fill air bags in the automobile industry.