A number of Buġibba and St Paul’s Bay residents have taken to Facebook to ask why hundreds of metal canisters and flaccid balloons appeared all over the streets last weekend. Introducing: nitrous oxide.
One elderly woman complained that she picked up dozens of balloons from the streets and a much larger number of canisters that appeared around the venues of the Lost & Found festival. And she was right to make that connection.
Eventually, some people explained the relation between the balloons and the metal canisters:
Anyone who has spent time with British youth know their love for a quick whippet, or nitrous oxide canister.
These canisters are commonly used to make whipped cream, or as an anaesthetic in dentistry, and are massively popular among British youth – and clearly, there were some heavy sales over the weekend.
Someone consuming nitrous oxide
Instead of carrying the canisters into the festival site, the dealers were leaving cards around the Buġibba area and waiting for the calls.
Advertising 24-hour deliveries for canisters, capsules, and balloons, any buyers could call or message the three British numbers provided and, well, pick up some drugs.
With popular UK festivals like Notting Hill well known for mass consumption of nitrous oxide, and famous celebrities like Steve-O having gone public about their addiction to nitrous oxide, it seems like the new drug might be making its way to Malta – at least while the British are partying here.
- Effects: Feelings of euphoria, relaxation and calmness, dizziness, difficulty in thinking straight and fits of giggles/laughter, sound distortions or even hallucinations
- Risks: If gas is consumed in an enclosed space or if a plastic bag is used, it may cause lack of oxygen; heavy regular use can lead to severe vitamin B12 deficiency and anaemia; it may also depress formation of white blood cells
- If someone collapses after using nitrous oxide, call an ambulance immediately, turn them on to their side to avoid choking and stay with them until the ambulance arrives