Up: the rise of nitrous oxide abuse. An international survey of contemporary nitrous oxide use

Kaar, Stephen J., Ferris, Jason, Waldron, Jon, Devaney, Madonna, Ramsey, John and Winstock, Adam R. (2016) Up: the rise of nitrous oxide abuse. An international survey of contemporary nitrous oxide use. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 30 4: 1-7. doi:10.1177/0269881116632375

Author Kaar, Stephen J.
Ferris, Jason
Waldron, Jon
Devaney, Madonna
Ramsey, John
Winstock, Adam R.
Title Up: the rise of nitrous oxide abuse. An international survey of contemporary nitrous oxide use
Journal name Journal of Psychopharmacology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0269-8811
Publication date 2016-04-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/0269881116632375
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 30
Issue 4
Start page 1
End page 7
Total pages 7
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Sage Publications
Language eng
Formatted abstract
In recent years the recreational use of inhaled nitrous oxide gas (N2O) is becoming increasingly popular, yet little is known about the characteristics of its users or the effects they experience. This paper presents original research from the 2014 Global Drug Survey (GDS) (n=74,864). GDS runs the largest survey of recreational drug use in the world. The findings confirm N2O as a very common drug of use, in particular in the UK and US (38.6% and 29.4% lifetime prevalence). In the UK N2O was reported to be the eighth most commonly used substance. N2O was generally consumed via gas-filled balloons, at festivals and clubs where use of other substances was common. The vast majority of users use infrequently, and their use is not associated with significant harm. However, there appears to be a subpopulation of heavy users who may be using in a dependent pattern. Analysis of last year N2O users (n=4883), confirms that N2O is associated with hallucinations and confusion (which may be the desired effects) and persistent numbness and accidental injury (27.8%, 23.9%, 4.3% and 1.2% of last year users, respectively). Accidental injury is associated with the highest number of ‘hits’ per session, suggesting a dose–response relationship. The presence of significant harm is discussed in the light of public education on the risks of N2O use and harm-reduction strategies appropriate to N2O use. Further work needs to be completed to confirm the presence of persistent neurological symptoms in recreational users.
Keyword Nitrous oxide
Drugs of misuse
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Institute for Social Science Research - Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 8 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 6 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 07 Mar 2016, 19:51:21 EST by Jason Ferris on behalf of Institute for Social Science Research