Lauterbach wants stricter laughing gas rules quickly

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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Berlin – Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach wants to quickly introduce stricter rules to restrict the sale of laughing gas as a party drug, especially to young people.

“We will quickly reach a regulation”, said the SPD politician today DR– “Revista da Manhã”. As a possibility, he mentioned Lower Saxony’s proposal to include laughing gas in the list of psychoactive substances, with very strict sales rules. “We are now resolving this very quickly”, assured the minister.

Until regulation is reached, Lauterbach recommended that parents educate their children. “This feels fun and safe. But it’s not”, warned the SPD politician. Regular consumption can cause accidents or even neurological damage. Permanent damage also cannot be ruled out. “This is very dangerous for children and young people,” Lauterbach said. The minister does not believe that a ban is possible because laughing gas is also used industrially.

Cologne doctor Volker Limmroth called for strict restrictions on the availability of laughing gas. “The problem is that it is underestimated,” Limmroth, chief physician at the Neurological Clinic Cologne-Merheim, said today. DR– “Revista da Manhã”. So far it’s legal, cheap and available. “They now even have it at the kiosk next to each school. And this has to stop. Availability must be stopped,” he said. “An anesthetic does not belong on general sale, but rather in the hands of doctors. And not between gummy bears.”

The German Society for Neurology (DGN) had recently warned about the dangers. Consumption is increasing, especially among teenagers and young adults. According to the Lower Saxony Medical Association, laughing gas is not classified as a drug under the Narcotics Act.

Lower Saxony’s Health Minister Andreas Philippi (SPD) welcomed the initiative to restrict access to laughing gas. “I extremely welcome Karl Lauterbach’s clear statements in favor of restrictions on access to nitrous oxide. This is a strong signal for effective protection of the health of children and young people.”

The upcoming amendment to the New Psychoactive Substances Law should be used to introduce a ban on the sale or distribution of laughing gas to minors, says Philippi. Lower Saxony is currently preparing a corresponding request – the Federal Council will then be able to make a corresponding decision at its next meeting on June 14th.

Armin Grau (Greens), president of the health committee and member of the environment and consumer protection committee, stressed that it is very important that a regulation is quickly found to protect children and young people from using nitrous oxide in their free time . To achieve this, very strict rules for free sales would have to be enacted. Classifying laughing gas as a psychoactive substance could be a useful first step. © dpa/aha/

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