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Revenue seize €1.9 million worth of nitrous oxide canisters in Dublin and Meath

The canisters have legitimate uses, but Revenue can seize them if it believes they won’t be used that way.

The products are mostly used in food and catering, but Revenue can choose to seize them if they believe this isn't the intended use.
The products are mostly used in food and catering, but Revenue can choose to seize them if they believe this isn't the intended use.
Image: Revenue

REVENUE HAS SEIZED 59,135 nitrous oxide canisters in Counties Dublin and Meath, with an estimated value of €1.9 million.

The operation, which was intelligence lead, took place earlier today.

These canisters are ordinarily used in the food business and in dentistry, particularly with whipped cream or pain relief respectively.

However Revenue says it can choose to seize them if officers believe the goods will not be used for that purpose.

Instead, they could potentially be headed for the open market, where the HSE says they could be inhaled as a psychoactive substance, better known as “laughing gas” or “whippets.”

The range of effects, according to drugs.ie include a euphoric feeling, but also potential hallucinations, headaches, blurred vision, disorientation, irritation in the respiratory system, nausea, paranoia and many other negative outcomes as far as sudden death in serious cases.

A 15 year old child died last year after inhaling the gas.

Today’s seizure is part of Revenue’s ongoing operations targeting the illegal drug trade, and the importing of psychoactive substances to Ireland, it says.

It has reiterated a call to the public and to businesses to report smuggling in confidence.

Photo 1 Revenue has provided photos of the products it seized.

Growing issue

Fine Gael TD Emer Higgins says this seizure is another example of a “growing issue.”

She has called on online companies to cut off advertising for the products, as Amazon has recently.

“As of September, I was informed by PQ, that over 80,000 canisters had been seized in Ireland already this year, and this latest seizure almost doubled that figure” she said.

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The Dublin Mid West TD added that this practice has been linked to a number of deaths in the UK, and believes easy access is a “huge issue”.

“It’s far too straightforward for anyone of any age with access to the internet to pop online and order nitrous oxide to their home in a couple of clicks.”

“That is why I welcomed Amazon’s decision earlier this year to stop advertising nitrous oxide and I have called on Google to do the same.”

Emer Higgins says it’s “unacceptable” for a company to “profiteer” by selling advertisements.

She has also called for an education programme to inform young people of the dangers associated with inhaling laughing gas.

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