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Mark Ward TD welcome news that Nitrous Oxide added to awareness website

8 July, 2020 - by Mark Ward TD

Mark Ward TD welcome news that Nitrous Oxide added to awareness website

Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Mid-West Mark Ward has welcomed news that the HSE have included information about the misuse of nitrous oxide on after he had campaigned for this.

Teachta Ward has been raising concerns about the misuse of nitrous oxide since he became aware of an increase in the use of the drug that was noticeable by the amount of discarded silver canisters in Dublin Mid-West.

He said:

“The misuse of nitrous oxide which is commonly known as silver bullets has become a widespread problem since the outbreak of Covid-19. There has been a spike in the number of discarded canisters of nitrous oxide in parks and public areas.

“You only have to walk through the parks and estates in Dublin Mid-West and see the discarded canisters that are commonly known as 'silver bullets.'

“The Department of Health works with the HSE to raise awareness of the dangers associated with drugs through the website.

"However, having visited the website I became aware that there was no mention of nitro oxide in the solvent section. I subsequently wrote to the Minister and asked for awareness of the dangers of Nitrous Oxide to be included on

“I welcome the news that the dangers of Nitrous Oxide has subsequently been added to Whilst this will not stop the problem it will give parents and children correct and factual information on the dangers of using this substance.

“The problem is that kids are playing Russian Roulette with this substance and do not know how it will affect them until they take it. These 'silver bullets' are used in the catering trade and can be bought for cheap online. Unscrupulous dealers are then selling them on for big profits.

“People with heart, blood pressure or mental health concerns could be at greater risk. Nitrous Oxide can cause a drop in oxygen levels which could increase heart rate.

“I have also called for an awareness programme on the dangers of nitrous oxide to be rolled out in schools, this would be a welcome step in combatting this issue.”


Note to editors: A copy of a PQ Teachta Ward put in to the Department of Health can be found below, and a link to the information concerning Nitrous Oxide can be found here:

For Written Answer on : 30/06/2020
Question Number(s): 424 Question Reference(s): 12931/20
Department: Health
Asked by: Mark Ward T.D.

To ask the Minister for Health if he will instruct the HSE to include information on nitrous oxide under the solvent's category on drugs; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) in the USA considers nitrous oxide as an inhalant which covers solvents, aerosols and gases found in household products. 

On the website, nitrous oxide has its own page  in the sedative section as technically it is categorised as sedative/dissociative anaesthetic. A link to the nitrous oxide page has been added to the solvents page. 

Some drugs, particularly newer trends, can fall into many categories. The drug category system on is being reviewed and will be replaced with an a-z list of drugs.  

The HSE alerted young people about the danger of using nitrous oxide through a media release in January.  It has updated outlining the effects and risks associated with nitrous oxide use, and produced an advice booklet for parents on how to talk to young people about the risks associated with drug and alcohol use.  

Nitrous oxide is a dangerous substance that may lead to serious health effects. It is important that we increase awareness of the health risks associated with nitrous oxide misuse among young people, parents and youth organisations.


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