Land of Smiles cracks down on laughing gas
It might be called laughing gas for the euphoria it induces when inhaled, but the Thai police certainly aren't smiling about it.
Authorities in Thailand are set to crack down on the increased use of nitrous oxide in Bangkok, according to the Bangkok Post.
While it is not an illegal narcotic, the colourless gas - which is mainly used as an anaesthetic in medical circles - is a controlled item in Thailand and cannot be sold without a permit.
Going by names such as "buzz bomb" and "whippets", the gas is also sometimes sold as "NOX" when combined with crystal meth, or Ice, an illegal drug.
Decreased blood count
Thai police have described the gas - which is often sold in tanks and balloons - as having a similar effect to taking crystal meth, warning that long-term use could result in decreased blood count.
They also warned that large intakes of the gas could disrupt the flow of oxygen to the brain, resulting in serious mental impairment.
Police Colonel Jakphet Phetploynil, who has been placed in charge of a task force that will crack down on the gas' use in Bangkok, said: "Inhaling laughing gas has been going on for four or five years.
"Foreigners introduced it and it spread among Thai teens."
Col Jakphet also added that a police probe had uncovered a link between sellers and an employee of a state-run hospital.
He said: "We also discovered the wife of a Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) officer pulls the strings behind stalls serving the balloons on Khao San Road."
Also known as "hippie crack", nitrous oxide was recently in the news when Liverpool star Raheem Sterling was caught on camera inhaling the gas.
Sale of the gas is set to be outlawed in the UK.
Source: Bangkok Post