British tourist in a coma after inhaling laughing gas in Malia

via the BBC

The Sun — An 18-year-old British girl  is in a coma after she inhaled laughing gas during a night out in  Malia. She was admitted to Heraklion University Hospital suffering from cerebral edema and remains in intensive care, the hospital announced on Wednesday.

According to reports the 18-year-old arrived at the hospital, having consumed nitrous oxide and alcohol while out on the last evening of her holiday in Crete.

Ioannis Mastorakis, the Mayor of the Hersonissos the region of which Malia is part, said: “We still don’t know the reasons why the 18-year-old is treated at the hospital.

“The gas that we are talking about is not illegal, the bars use them to produce whipped cream.

“For that reason there is no bureau in charge of checking the further use of these gases.”

Police are believed to have spoken to a number of witnesses including two of the girl’s friends.

Speaking to The Sun, a Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We are assisting the family of a British woman hospitalised in Greece.

“We remain in touch with the Greek hospital, tour operator and police.”


BBC — In 2015 laughing was  the fourth most used drug in the UK, according to the Global Drug Survey. In 2015 only people in the Netherlands used it more.

The UK government is moving to ban the sale of nitrous oxide to clubbers and partygoers because of its dangers.

The anaesthetic gas is still used for pain relief during dentistry and childbirth but outside of that legitimate arena there has been a legal grey area for years. It’s already illegal to sell to under-18s if there is a risk they will inhale it. But it remains easy for adults to buy.

“Young people who take these substances are taking exceptional risks with their health and those who profit from their sale have a complete disregard for the potential consequences,” said crime and policing minister Mike Penning.

 

There have, however, been 17 fatalities related to the use of laughing gas in the UK between 2006 and 2012, according to research.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) says that there was one death in 2011 and five in 2010. The US records about 15 deaths a year.

Breathing in high concentrations of laughing gas can quickly reduce the blood’s level of oxygen.

There is a risk that people can start feeling sleepy as they inhale the gas and pass out, says Dr Anna-Maria Rollin from the Royal College of Anaesthetists. “The risk of brain damage just isn’t worth it as far as I can tell.”