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Oregon Resident Oliveri Suffers from Nerve Damage, Shares Dangers of Using Recreational Nitrous Oxide

Oregon Resident Oliveri Suffers from Nerve Damage, Shares Dangers of Using Recreational Nitrous Oxide

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Shtterstock Poleijphoto

When Vito Oliveri tried nitrous oxide for the first time in his twenties, he never imagined that years later, the legal euphoria-producing substance would briefly paralyze him and his fiancée, preventing them from walking their four dogs. The 34-year-old who resides in Portland, Oregon, close to some of the finest ski resorts in the US, used to frequently go skiing or go on lake excursions with his fiancée, Emily Shuford, 30.

Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas” or “hippie crack,” is employed in the food industry as a whipping cream and as a pain reliever during childbirth. But in recent years, it has gained appeal as a recreational drug in the US, Australia, and Europe. Users inhale it to experience a relaxed, giddy high.

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Oliveri says that he woke up one morning and was unable to walk. This was because of the side effects of the euphoria drug he had consumed about eight years ago. Now, he is unable to travel even for a mile, while Shuford uses a cane.

 

According to a recent report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, experts have grown more concerned about nitrous oxide and its potential risks, especially considering the rise of super-sized stainless-steel canisters that entered the market in 2017 and “deliberately target” recreational users. Dr. David Nicholl of the Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust in the UK said to Sky News that he receives patients who have had a stroke very often.

When Oliveri first used the drug, he filled a balloon with the gas and attached a silver lipstick-sized capsule holding 0.2 ounces of nitrous oxide to a whipped cream dispenser. He was immediately smitten.

According to Alistair Noyce, a specialist neurologist in London, nitrous oxide can paralyze individuals because it destroys nerve cells in the spinal cord by inactivating vitamin B12, which is necessary for maintaining the lining of the nerves.

In most nations, it is lawful to own nitrous oxide, but some have made it illegal to supply it for entertainment. Due to worries about potential nerve damage and traffic accidents from impaired drivers, the Netherlands recently outlawed its sale and possession. The UK, where it is currently unlawful to sell but not possess, may soon follow. Users who develop symptoms like numbness, unexplained incontinence or problems with erections should stop taking it and inform a doctor that they used the drug because prompt vitamin B12 injections as a treatment is “crucial,” Noyce said.

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