THE council has warned young people of the dangers of taking hippy crack – and reminded shopkeepers that it is illegal to sell the drug for human consumption.

Nitrous oxide cannisters, known as laughing gas or hippy crack, are often spotted in Bolton following the aftermath of a gathering of young people.

But its usage can lead to dangerous consequences for users.

Executive cabinet member for wellbeing at Bolton Council, Cllr Sue Baines, said: “There are risks associated with nitrous oxide and we are working with 360, our local substance misuse service based at the Parallel, to educate young people about the risk and problems.

“While the high that people experience from nitrous oxide does not usually last very long, it can be very dangerous.

"It can cause dizziness, a loss of confusion, a loss of coordination, sound distortions and hallucinations.

“Also, if nitrous oxide is taken with other substances, in particular alcohol, then the risks to the person are increased; especially because people often don’t know how much they have actually taken.

“It is important that young people, but also their parents, know about the risks of nitrous oxide.

"And we need to ensure that those at greater risk of using such substances, particularly the young, have the knowledge and support so that positive choices about their health can be made.

“We would also remind shopkeepers that it is illegal to sell the drug for human consumption."

Cllr Baines also outlined the risk of spreading coronavirus as groups of people meet up to consume hippy crack.

She added: “During the current pandemic young people need to be mindful that coronavirus can be easily spread via saliva and hard surfaces, and through hand to mouth transmission, so people should avoid sharing cigarettes, glasses, bottles and other items to protect themselves and others health.”

Groups of up to six from different households can only meet up under the law, which also remains the same after July 4.

Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is covered by the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 and is part of the large number of "legal highs".

Services are open for young people and families affected by nitrous oxide use. For help and advice on 01204 462444.