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NOS illegal without prescription: no ifs, no buts

NOS illegal without prescription: no ifs, no buts, no maybes

Associate Minister of Health Jim Anderton says no-one should be in any doubt that the legal opinion he has obtained from the Crown Law Office is unequivocal in its view that the sale of NOS without a prescription is illegal. No ifs, no buts, no maybes.

Health and Police officials had their first meeting to discuss this issue today.

"Party pill suppliers who have been saying that different grades of NOS are not affected by the law are simply fooling themselves and misleading everyone else," the Progressive leader said.

"No grade of nitrous oxide is specified in the Medicines Act and accordingly any 'party pill' supplier or dairy owner who sells nitrous oxide, whether for recreational or any other purposes, other than pursuant to a prescription, commits an offence by doing so. It is also an offence to possess nitrous oxide for inhalation.

"However, as people have only just been made aware of this new legal opinion, there will be a reasonable time given before prosecutions are taken.

"Enforcement agencies are currently working out operational details, including how enforcement will be handled, appropriate ways of educating retailers and how to deal with non-inhalation uses (for example, in the catering industry). They had their first meeting today and further meetings will be held.

"Inhalation of NOS can cause harm to lungs, freeze-burns to lips from inhaling directly from the nozzle of dispensers, anaesthesia, collapsing and choking on vomit while unconscious," Jim Anderton said.

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