A teenager believed to have taken “laughing gas” at a party has collapsed and died.
The 18-year-old man collapsed in the street in Bexley, south-east London shortly after 11.15pm on Saturday night.
The Metropolitan Police were contacted by the London Ambulance Service and arrived to find the man in cardiac arrest. The teenager was taken to a south London hospital in a critical condition and died two hours later.
The police said the teenager is believed to have ingested nitrous oxide, known as “laughing gas”, in addition to alcohol at the party.
A Met spokesperson said:
At this stage the death is being treated as unexplained pending the findings of the post-mortem.
Laughing gas – inhaled using a balloon – can make people feel relaxed, euphoric and giggly, hence the nickname.
The sale of nitrous oxide, aka. “hippy crack”, to teenagers under the age of 18 is illegal in England and Wales if there is a risk they will inhale the substance, but it’s not illegal to be in possession of the gas.
Seventeen people in the UK died between 2006 and 2012 after taking the legal high, and the government’s plans to ban the sale of legal highs would include nitrous oxide.