Monday, 7 May 2007

London Paper 20

Originally uploaded by chantelle.
On The Scene
Chantelle Fiddy


Laughing gas, otherwise known as Nitrous Oxide (NO2) when used in the medical profession and by caters to whip cream, is no new fad. But thanks to the new rave culture that’s gripping the UK, it’s easier than ever to get yourself a hit of the giggles. As well as been readily available at street markets, a number of venues have also been making the most of the resurgence. But it’s not all laughs. While the majority of people enjoy playing the fool for five minutes, there have been reports of clubbers suffering from heart palpitations and fainting then there’s the reported risks of longterm damage to the nervous system. There does, however, appear to be a lack of confusion over the legality. While the majority of people view it in the same class as poppers, readily available over the counter of sex shops, LACORS (the Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services) are spreading the word that ‘anyone who supplies NO2 for the purpose of inhalation without being a registered pharmacist’ is breaking the law and can be charged under the Medicines Act. However, it isn’t illegal to inhale the gas or possess it - unless you’re doing so with the intent to supply.

Of greater concern to the authorities is GHB (Gammahydroxybutrate), or liquid ecstasy as it’s sometimes called, a drug with sedative and anaesthetic effects. Although it’s only a Class C drug, GHB is reportedly dangerous because of the difficulty in knowing how much you’re taking given the fine line between getting a good buzz and collapsing. Use too much and you might feel disorientated, be sick, have spasms or numb muscles, and burn your mouth if it’s a potent bottle you’re sipping from. Nice. Mixing it with alcohol is also a bad combination to be avoided at all costs. There have been several deaths over the past few years with GHB also been implicated as a date rape drug. As someone who’s had their drink spiked in the past, that’s no joke let me tell you.

Another emerging drug to be reckoned with is DO9 (or DOI). Still pretty rare, It hit the news in January when three people became seriously ill after taking the relatively unknown substance at an illegal rave in Bedfordshire. Dance music forums soon became awash with horror stories of the drug which was being plugged as ‘really strong acid.’

One high the officials will be less concerned with is the Bestival Launch Party at The Bloomsbury Ballroom on Friday night. Live acts and DJs include Candi Payne, Natty, Rob Da Bank accompanied by UK Beatbox Champion MC Beardyman and Sound Systems Trojan and Sombrero. With two fancy dress themes – Flappers and pirates - you’re bound to get legitimate laugh too. Tickets are selling out fast but can be bought for £12.50 in advance or £15 on the door.

A version of this article appeared in The London Paper.

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