More gas canisters discovered in other parts of Sheffield amid drug craze concerns
Gas canisters have been discovered in several other parts of Sheffield – after a great-grandmother raised concern that youngsters are using them to inhale potentially deadly fumes.
The 81-year-old woman found 116 empty cream chargers within a matter of days earlier this month in an alleyway close to her Woodhouse home.
The chargers should be used to dispense cream onto cakes or deserts – but instead thrill-seekers are using them to fill balloons with dangerous nitrous oxide before inhaling the fumes.
The gas slows down brain function and is said to induce euphoria and laughter – hence its nicknames 'hippy crack' and 'laughing gas'.
But the craze is no laughing matter as the gas can also cause hallucinations, asphyxiation, nerve damage and even death.
After The Star uncovered the discovery this morning, a number of other residents have come forward on Facebook to say it is a much wider problem in the city.
Ann Birtles said: “I work all over Sheffield and there is no area from Hillsborough to Dore where I haven’t seen these discarded in the streets.
“It is mad how widespread around Sheffield this is.”
Keeley Haywood posted: “The streets are full of empty canisters. All day, everyday.”
Kay Firth said there are “loads on Cricket Inn Crescent in Wybourn.”
Nikki Johnston said she “sees them all the time” from Upperthorpe to Walkley.
Government data revealed that eight people died from inhaling the gas in the UK in 2016 - double the previous year.
The great-grandmother who found them in Woodhouse warned it could only be a matter of time before the craze claims a life in Sheffield.
Her warning has been echoed by the authorities, who issued a public health alert on the dangers of inhaling nitrous oxide today.
In a statement, South Yorkshire Police said they have introduced extra patrols after it is believed “the canisters were discarded after the fumes inside had been inhaled by teenagers.”
Inspector Dave Struggles said: “Not only is it illegal to supply these gas canisters for inhalation, but it is also very dangerous. It lowers the oxygen in the brain and can cause serious damage.”
Sheffield City Council also warned about the dangers and, citing advice from the Talk to Frank website, said people who take it “risk falling unconscious and/or suffocating from the lack of oxygen. People have died this way.”
Dr Anthony Gore, Sheffield GP and clinical lead for delivery – care outside of hospital at Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Nitrous oxide is a depressant, which means it slows down your brain and your body’s responses. By taking nitrous oxide, you can pass out or suffocate from a lack of oxygen in your body.
“Sadly, people have died this way. We really recommend thinking twice before taking nitrous oxide or any other harmful substance.”