Nangs

Nangs

Nangs are increasing in popularity in Australia as a recreational drug. Also known as whippets, laughing gas, N²0, or bulbs, it is nitrous oxide contained within a small metal canister.

These canisters are used by dentists and other medical professionals as a dissociative anaesthetic to sedate patients, or by bakers to whip cream.

Nitrous oxide is a colourless, slightly sweet tasting gas that when inhaled, can create feelings of depersonalisation, derealisation, dizziness, euphoria, uncontrollable laughter and giddiness, and sound distortion. This high lasts only a short time, around one minute, but users can do nothing much but feel super ~floaty~.

How is it used?

The gas is commonly discharged into a balloon and then inhaled. It can also be discharged directly into the mouth, but as the gas is very cold (-40c)  it can cause frostbite to the nose, throat and lungs.

What’s going on in your brain?

Nitrous oxide has been found to be axiolytic (relieves anxiety), analgesic (kills pain) and has euphoric effects.

Each effect works in the brain slightly differently, but it’s used recreationally for the euphoric effects (ya don’t say).

N²0 stimulates the mesolimbic reward pathway, which is the one most associated with addiction. It induces dopamine release and antagonises NMDA receptors – the same way ketamine and phencyclidine (PCP) do.

Essentially, its a short, sharp burst of dopamine running up and down the part of your brain in charge of pleasure, reward-related motor function learning and the feeling of being rewarded.

Sounds great, but what’s the catch?

The most dangerous thing about inhaling nitrous oxide is that you’re not inhaling oxygen.

Short term, it can make you feel weak and tired, or make you faint. If you do it a lot, the long-term effects can include memory loss, hearing a ringing or buzzing noise, numbness in your hands and feet, a weakened immune system, serious vitamin-B deficiency depression, psychological dependence, and psychosis.

Nitrous oxide is legal to buy in Australia, and is sold in speciality stores and some convenience stores.

Nangs- Tame Impala https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQbf9oyyGjc 

 

Photo credit: http://blairemagazine.com/blog/chats-with-some-nang-fiends

 

Part 2: What happens when you’re caught

Part 2: What happens when you’re caught

So you’ve been snitched on by an adorable, four-legged traitor.

The police have asked you to come with them. You cooperate with their search, even if you don’t consent. A key thing to remember is not to lie to the police, but don’t admit to anything outside what they can see – they might try and get you to admit to further crimes, like supplying to another person, or even antagonise you into arguing or becoming aggressive. It’s very important to remain calm and cooperative.

If they find anything, they will serve you with a court order.

It’s recommended to obtain legal assistance – lawyer up, guys. The professionals will be able to explain your individual situation and help you decide the best option far better than reading this blog post.

Lawyers may recommend programs such as the MERIT program – or Magistrate’s Early Referral To Treatment – that allows adults to voluntarily work toward substance abuse rehabilitation. A lawyer can enter you into such a program to show the court you had a problem with illegal substances and/or the law, but you are taking decisive steps to fix it.

This will give you a greater chance of receiving a Section 10 verdict.

A Section 10 refers to Section 10 of the Crimes Act 1999, which pretty much means they find you guilty of a crime, but they don’t charge you or give you a criminal record. It’s definitely worth reading up on the Act, which can be found here.

However, if you get charged, you can serve jail time or receive a fine.

-EY

 

What happens if you’re caught?

What happens if you’re caught?

Okay, picture this.

You and your mates have bought tickets to Listen Out and you’re all hyped af to go. Someone in your group chat has contacted their friendly neighbourhood drug dealer, and wants to know what everyone wants.

You aint no pussfoot, so you ask for two pingas so you can properly jam out to RüFüS.

However, as you’re enjoying a casual beer and some lunch on the grass with your drugs tucked discreetly in your wallet, you feel a cold, wet something against your arm. You turn around, and you see an adorable dog sitting behind you, wagging his fluffy tail proudly. hehe, cute dog.

Mate, you’re at a festival. Behind the adorable dog who is thinking “OH MAN, I AM A GOOD BOY!” are two slightly-less-cute police officers, who are now asking you to come with them. You’re sprung, more than that time when a girl walked in with an itty-bitty waist and a round thing in your face.

What do you do?

At events like Listen Out, police will often have a general search warrant for the event and surrounding area. This means they have the right to search you if they have reasonable suspicion (like the cute fluffy traitor who sat down next to you). Unfortunately, “reasonable suspicion” is a broad term, which can include being nervous at the sight of police or dogs, or just generally looking sketchy (according to your new friends wearing blue).

If you get stopped by police on reasonable suspicion, and you don’t comply with their requests, like to turn out your pockets, you can be detained. It’s honestly best to just comply with the police, even if you think the sniffer dog just wanted a bit of your pork roll. However, if you really don’t agree to be searched, the best thing to do is to tell them that you do not consent to be searched, but you will co-operate.

If you get caught with illicit substances, do not lie to the police. They know.

You have a right to avoid self-incrimination, but most people admit it was for personal use. This looks better when you get charged for possession, and if you haven’t consented to be searched but you co-operated, the court can decide the search was unlawful and you’ll probably get a better result.

If you get caught with illicit substances at a festival, chances are you’re going to get kicked out with no refund, which is in the Terms and Conditions of buying your ticket. You can also receive a permanent ban from the festival, depending on the organisers.

Oftentimes, the police will issue you a summons or a court attendance notice for you to attend at a later date.

Stay tuned for more details about what to do in Part 2 of this post!

-EY

 

Is MDMA Neurotoxic?

Is MDMA Neurotoxic?

Many recent reports and anti-drug campaigns have been saying that ecstasy is neurotoxic. Neurotoxicity is when natural or artificial substances (toxins) alter the normal way the nervous system operates in such a way it causes damage to nervous tissue. This could be a result of the drug itself, or the increased levels of serotonin rocking around in your head.

So far,  we know large doses of MDMA have caused serotonergic neuronal toxicity in laboratory animals. This means the chemicals have damaged the serotonin axons, which are the pathways the serotonin sends signals along to the rest of your brain. Some species tested have recovered. At the moment, neuroscientists aren’t able to infer direct causation in humans, nor say definitively whether damage can be reversed.

So, pretty much, we have no definitive answer to know if MDMA is neurotoxic, or if we can fix damage caused by the drug.

However, we know how to minimise risks of potential damage:

  1. Don’t take MDMA

This is a foolproof way to make sure you don’t cause damage to your brain. Don’t ingest toxins!

  1. Only take one dose

Many people take more than one dose in one go to have a better high, or to extend the high they’re already on. It’s pretty simple – more artificial substances in your system, higher risk they damage it.

  1. Don’t mix with other stimulants

Stimulants include other amphetamines, such as speed or meth. It is common for MDMA to be mixed with other amphetamines in pressed pills and capsules.

  1. Cool down

Studies found rats kept in a cool room (thereby having a lower core temperature) suffered no neurotoxicity, while rats given the same dose in a warm room suffered extensive neurotoxicity. If you’re in a club, keep your temperature down by finding an air conditioner, leave the crowd, or go outside. If you are at a festival, cool down by finding some shade and sipping on some cold water.

  1. Take antioxidants

Research has shown that MDMA causes oxidation of some enzymes – if your body cannot handle a heightened oxidative load, damage to the serotonin axons starts happening. Taking antioxidants such as vitamin E and C at the same time you take MDMA can help your body handle this oxidation.

These steps can help you MINIMISE RISKS. We have no real guarantee that this will stop neurotoxicity. If you are worried about damaging your brain, don’t do drugs, kids.

Read about what MDMA does to your body here, and what to do if you get caught by authorities here.

What does MDMA do to your body?

What does MDMA do to your body?

MDMA is commonly known as ecstasy, and is a psychoactive drug – which just means it affects your mind, stimulating your central nervous system and speeding it up. It increases the activity of three neurotransmitters; serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. It acts as a presynaptic releasing agent, and acts as a monoamine transporter substrate which produces competitive reuptake inhibition at neuronal membrane transporters. This means it competes with naturally occurring chemicals to be reabsorbed after it has done its job. This leaves “extra chemicals” at the receiver. When taken orally, effects usually begin between 15 minutes and an hour, and can last between 3 to 6 hours.

Serotonin contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness; dopamine affects your sense of reward and pleasure, and norepinephrine is associated with the “fight or flight” response, making your body ready for action. MDMA affects serotonin the most, but the combination of these three accumulating in your brain makes you feel euphoric and energetic.

However, while this is all happening, your body is trying to create more neurotransmitters to reabsorb all of the chemicals that are making you feel so good. This means that when you return to your pre-MDMA levels of serotonin, there are extra transmitters reabsorbing it, and less cells producing it – this means you feel sad, irritable, you have difficulty focusing, low libido, low appetite, low self-esteem, and you feel really tired. These effects can happen for days after you’ve taken the drug, and if you mixed with other things (like alcohol, other recreational drugs or substances commonly found mixed in MDMA pills and capsules) you can feel even worse. Your tolerance will also go up, which means that if you take MDMA more than once a month, you won’t feel the positive effects as well.

Some people think MDMA can cause brain damage… read more about that here and what to do if you get caught by authorities with illicit substances here.