Laughing Gas

The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention has issued a circular to warn about the dangers of misusing ethyl chloride spray, which has recently gained interest among adolescent students.

The product, purchased from various social networking sites, e-commerce websites, private pharmacies and specialty stores, is stated as a local anesthetic that affects the central nervous system when inhaled.

Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention’s Public Policy and Licensing said the youths, who call it a laughter gas, inhale the compound after spraying it on a piece of cloth which results in a burst of laughter or crying, followed by hallucination.

He said that the product is not criminalised, low in cost compared to other drug classes, and is easily available, leading to many cases of addiction among school and university students.

Al Amiri added that the Ministry has communicated to the UAE Ministry of Education, the Abu Dhabi Education Council, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, the Anti-Narcotics Federal General Directorate at the UAE Ministry of Interior, and various police departments to investigate and report the seized cases, monitor andanalyse captured substances, and provide preventive measures to protect children from these dangerous products.

Excessive use may cause nerve paralysis and decreased pressure

Al Amiri noted that ethyl chloride spray is medically used to prevent pain caused by injections and minor surgical procedures, provide temporary relief from minor sports injuries, and help relieve deep muscle pain when used with muscle spasm techniques.

Ethyl chloride is a topical anesthetic that belongs to a group of pharmaceutical compounds that block the neurotransmitters and paralyze the skeletal and respiratory muscles when inhaled.

It also causes paralysis of the nerves that feed the blood vessels which relaxes smooth muscles in the vessel walls, leading to Vasodilation that can drop blood pressure and may lead to serious complications.

Pharmacies advised not sell ethyl chloride to youth under 18 years

Al Amiri said that the Ministry is warning against the inhalation of these substances and has issued a circular aiming detecting and stopping misleading practices among young people between the age of 12 and 16 years as it can lead to serious complications, including hospitalization. All pharmacies are advised to not sell these products to anyone under 18 years.