Sat. Sep 24th, 2022

What are whippets? Here’s what to know about the ban in New York and the danger to kids

Spread the love


NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Stores in New York are now enforcing an age restriction on the sale of refillable whipped cream canisters due to the dangers these pose as a potential recreational drug known as whippets.

New York Senate Bill S.2819A passed the assembly last year, in June 2021. It’s meant to prohibit the sale of whipped cream chargers and cartridges to anyone under the age of 21.

“These two-inch steel cylinders contain the nitrous oxide that is dangerous when inhaled directly,” said Democratic New York state Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. in a public address.

“They can be sold individually or in packs as refills to recharge whipped cream canisters,” Addabbo continued. 

NEW YORK STORES BEGIN ENFORCING BAN ON SALE OF WHIPPED CREAM CANISTERS TO THOSE UNDER 21

“It is the individual charger or cartridge that is the sole target of the bill, which are accessible to younger residents and [are] being used improperly to get the nitrous oxide high.”

Addabbo’s address noted that whippets are also known as “whippits” and “whip-its,” and the canisters that hold them had been littering various districts around the state.

“People have called my office directly to ask me to do something about this issue,” Addabbo said. “Since the law went into effect there have been less sightings of the discarded whippit chargers or cartridges in the streets in my district.”

“An ephemeral high [from whippets] can result in seizure, death or a lifetime of misery.”

Litter aside, medical experts and addiction specialists say whippets should be avoided because of the harm these can cause to the human body.

What are whippets?

Among recreational drug users, the term “whippets” is a slang word that’s used to describe the misuse of nitrous oxide, according to Dr. Bruce Bassi, an addiction psychiatrist at TelepsychHealth, a psychiatric treatment facility in Jacksonville, Florida.

WHAT IS FENTANYL? HERE’S MORE TO KNOW ABOUT THE DANGEROUS DRUG

“Nitrous oxide is the propellant in whipped cream containers,” Bassi told Fox News Digital.

Nitrous oxide is a gas that can be packaged in metal bulb-shaped canisters like those shown here. Some people are buying these for recreational drug use.

Nitrous oxide is a gas that can be packaged in metal bulb-shaped canisters like those shown here. Some people are buying these for recreational drug use.
(iStock)

He said people access nitrous oxide by inhaling the aerosol in a canister; the gas provides a high feeling.

“[Whippets are mainly] used by teenagers primarily because of how easy it is to obtain [these] from a grocery store,” Bassi continued. “Recreational abuse of nitrous oxide is extremely harmful to the nervous system.”

Potential dangers include irreversible neurological complications, psychiatric issues, personality changes, damage to the central nervous system — and death.

While the name “whippets” may sound like something that can only be done with whipped cream, nitrous oxide can be found in various household products.

Some cooking sprays can contain nitrous oxide in addition to race car products that boost octane levels, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Nitrous oxide is used as a propellant for whipped cream.

Nitrous oxide is used as a propellant for whipped cream.
(iStock)

The agency’s Inhalants Research Report warned that other household items that are being recreationally used include spray paints, deodorant, hairsprays and fabric sprays, butane lighters and propane tanks.

FORMER ADDICT’S ASTOUNDING TRANSFORMATION TO COLLEGE GRADUATE: ‘CONSIDER STARTING TODAY’

A whippet awareness article published by the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition (NIPC) reported that some recreational users get access to nitrous oxide and ingest the gas with standard party balloons.

Other users reportedly get their hands on a “cracker device,” which is a small cylindrical tube that’s used to break open whippet canisters, according to the NIPC. 

What else should people know about nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide is a nonirritating, colorless gas that has a slightly sweet scent, according to Dr. Lawrence Weinstein, chief medical officer at American Addiction Centers, a Tennessee-based substance use and mental health disorder treatment facility.

TATTOO SAFETY: WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT GETTING INKED AS YANKEES’ AROLDIS CHAPMAN RECOVERS FROM INFECTION   

“It has [a] legitimate purpose in some settings, including use as an anesthetic [and] a fuel booster used in rocket engines — and its antibacterial effects are what allows for its use in the preparation of whipped cream,” Weinstein told Fox News Digital.

Doctors and dental professionals use nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas) in controlled medical settings.

Doctors and dental professionals use nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas) in controlled medical settings.
(iStock)

He noted that nitrous oxide is also used as laughing gas — which is why some recreational users call the chemical “hippy crack” or “sweet air.”

Why are whippets so dangerous?

Whippets can cause a list of adverse effects, Weinstein told Fox News Digital.

Potential dangers include irreversible neurological complications, psychiatric issues, personality changes, damage to the central nervous system — and death.

“Nitrous oxide use also induces vitamin B12 deficiency, which leads to the most dire consequences of its use,” Weinstein said. 

“Vitamin B12 is essential in the synthesis of myelin, which is a sheath or protective layer that forms around nerve cells, including those in the brain and spine.”

Whippets are commonly used in social gatherings. Weinstein warned that whippet canisters and sources of nitrous oxide are still available online — so it’s important to stay vigilant, abstain from the trend and know the signs of potential abuse.

Whippets are commonly used in social gatherings. Weinstein warned that whippet canisters and sources of nitrous oxide are still available online — so it’s important to stay vigilant, abstain from the trend and know the signs of potential abuse.
(iStock)

Nitrous oxide inactivates a key component of vitamin B12, and this is dangerous because it can break down myelin and can lead to subacute degeneration of the spinal cord, according to Weinstein. 

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

He continued, “Weakness, aggression, confusion, psychiatric symptoms like hallucinations, difficulty walking [or] maintaining balance, decreased coordination and other manifestations of poor muscle control are all possibilities with nitrous oxide abuse.”

Weinstein warned that whippet canisters and sources of nitrous oxide are still available online — so it’s important for people to stay vigilant, abstain from the trend and know the signs of potential abuse.

Can the use of whippets be fatal?

The American Addiction Centers Oxford Treatment Center in Etta, Miss., reported that there’s been 29 fatal cases related to nitrous oxide abuse, according to a 2016 case study published in the American Journal on Addictions.

The deaths reportedly occurred after prolonged exposure were often associated with neurological issues, including hypoxia or anoxia, which are conditions that happen when oxygen flow to the brain or other organs decline or completely stops.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE FOX LIFESTYLE NEWS

Dr. Andrew Youssouf, a medical director at the Recovery Centers of America at Raritan Bay in New Jersey, told Fox News Digital that the high provided by whippets “is very short-lived and drives users to repeat abuse in a high volume.”

Discarded metal nitrous oxide canisters and balloons are a typical indication of whippet use.

Discarded metal nitrous oxide canisters and balloons are a typical indication of whippet use.
(iStock)

Short-term effects of whippets include blurred vision, loss of coordination, impaired judgment, confusion, sweating and dizziness. 

“More seriously, whippets can cause death by asphyxiation or starve brain cells of oxygen, which can cause permanent damage, especially in teenagers as their brains have not yet fully developed,” Youssouf said. 

“The risks of whippets increase when mixed with other drugs or alcohol,” he also said.

How can families prevent the use of whippets?

Having an open and honest conversation is the first line of defense for families who wish to keep their home free of whippets and their children away from this dangerous trend, according to Youssouf.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR LIFESTYLE NEWSLETTER

“Educate your kids about the dangers of whippets and other inhalants, but don’t use specific products or teach techniques, as this may lead to curiosity,” he said. 

“Communicate that it may seem less dangerous than ‘hard-core’ drugs, but an ephemeral high can result in seizure, death or a lifetime of misery.”



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.