Police warning after 'laughing gas' canisters found in Padiham car park
Several empty canisters were found on Sunday morning in the Mytton Street car park in the town, prompting speculation that youngsters are putting their lives at risk to get a cheap 'high.'
A resident, who found the canisters, said: "This is not the first time the canisters have been found.
"This seems to be something that is rife in Padiham but it is quite worrying that these youngsters are taking risks like this."
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: "Nitrous Oxide gas, also known as laughing gas, is classed as a psychoactive substance which can cause dizziness and therefore impair your judgement – putting you at risk.
"When ‘the gas’ is inhaled, it removes the oxygen from your lungs and replaces it with nitrous oxide, this can cause unconsciousness or death due to a lack of oxygen.
"Mixing alcohol with nitrous oxide can be fatal."
The Psychoactive Substances Act of 2016 has made it illegal for anyone to sell nitrous oxide.
The craze for 'laughing gas' which is also known as 'hippy crack' has hit the headlines in recent months.
Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas that when inhaled can make people feel euphoric and relaxed. The canisters are normally silver but can also come in various colours.
The effects of the gas have seen it nicknamed 'laughing gas', but it can also cause some people to have hallucinations. The effects are caused by the drug slowing down the brain.
Nitrous oxide is normally bought in pressurised canisters. It is then transferred to a container such as a balloon to be inhaled.
It can also cause some people to have hallucinations. There are legitimate uses for nitrous oxide, including numbing pain during medical procedures, use in catering aerosol cans and in engines.
But it is illegal to sell or import the drug for human consumption.