The abuse of nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas” in the dental field, is increasing to epidemic proportions among our youth. Attorney Laura Sedrish of AlderLaw and Rialto Mayor Pro-Tem Ed Scott, whose son died in a nitrous oxide related car accident, are working to not only bring awareness to this issue affecting millions across the country, but, in Ms. Sedrish’s words “shut this alarming trend down”.
When inhaled in recreational doses, the nitrous oxide ‘high’ lasts from 1–5 minutes. The quick fix along with the ease of access (almost anyone can buy nitrous oxide) make it a popular party drug. Street nitrous oxide, aka “noz”, is purchased from auto body shops and is also quite dangerous — it contains toxic fillers and is not intended for use on humans. Although there are legitimate uses in the medical and other fields, people are too easily obtaining it via illegitimate means.
When Ed Scott’s son was killed when his friend, who was high on noz, crashed the car he was driving, he decided to take action. The sale of noz to auto body shops is not regulated at the state or federal level, making it easy for drug dealers to ‘set up shop’, so to speak, and push the drug out of their makeshift businesses. That is exactly how the driver in Ed Scott’s case too easily obtained the noz.
The Yepez family, also represented by Ms. Sedrish, suffered an inconceivable loss when their 11-year old daughter was struck and killed by a driver high on noz obtained on-line. Alderlaw, on behalf of the Yepez family, plans to sue the mobile internet market platform “Offer Up” – where the driver obtained the noz. Internet market providers, like “Offer Up,” indiscriminately and routinely offer noz for sale with photos and captions promoting illegal inhalation. On-line providers need to be held accountable for encouraging and facilitating such dangerous and illegal conduct.
Mr. Scott and the Yepez family are not alone in their loss – these types of catastrophic events are becoming increasingly common as noz abuse skyrockets. With Ms. Sedrish by his side, Mr. Scott is fighting to pass a bill that will set standards for the sale of nitrous oxide to businesses, including those in the automotive industry. They hope that by putting laws, innocent victims, such as the Yepez family, will be saved from heartache.
Ms. Sedrish and Mr. Scott will continue to advocate for victims of noz abuse. For more information on the national epidemic, please contact AlderLaw today.