Dangers of Mixing Nitrous Oxide and Alcohol
Alcohol is often commonly misused alongside other substances, including marijuana, cocaine, and prescription pills. However, it is also misused in conjunction with nitrous oxide, which can produce extremely dangerous outcomes.
What is Nitrous Oxide?
Noz – better known as nitrous oxide in the medical world – is an inhalant and is primarily misused through pressurized containers as opposed to nitrous oxide tanks (like those used in hospital settings). An example of these pressurized containers include cans of whipped cream, computer cleaner, and spray paint, which are commonly referred to as whippets. When someone misuses one of these products, they inhale it in an inappropriate manner, such as breathing in its fumes from a closed source like a paper bag or ballon.
Part of the danger involved with misusing nitrous oxide in this way is that it is readily available to almost anyone. It is possible for someone to walk into a grocery store and buy a product containing nitrous oxide and take it home and get high. However, the ease with which this can occur has become stricter, as many stores require photo ID when purchasing these products. Despite this, teens and young people still manage to purchase these items and misuse them, making this age group the most effected by this type of substance misuse. Additionally, noz is often misused in settings where these individuals frequent, such as parties, clubs, and raves.
Also, alcohol is readily available in most American homes. In 2014, the results of a nationwide survey noted that 71 percent of American people reported having drunk alcohol in the year prior, per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Mixing alcohol with noz can be deadly.
Effects of Mixing Nitrous & Alcohol
Initially, nitrous oxide can make the person misusing it feel giddy, happy, and excited. They may find practically everything they look at, say, or hear to be humorous. It also eliminates pain. This is why it is commonly used during dental procedures and childbirth as a pain reliever. It can also cause the individual to feel somewhat weightless, as if they are floating. In high enough doses, people may experience nitrous oxide hallucinations and auditory delusions. There are additional side effects besides the more desirable effects people misuse noz for, such as:
- Loss of motor coordination.
- Slurred speech.
- Visual disturbances.
- Hearing things that aren’t really there.
Over time, misusing nitrous and drinking alcohol can lead to serious consequences. While under the influence of either substance, clumsiness is a strong likelihood. Individuals may even be at greater risk of accidents – especially behind the wheel – than they are when misusing either substance alone. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes 16 percent of drivers involved in crashes in one study were found to be positive for drugs. In the United States, it is estimated that three people die every two hours on American roadways as a result of accidents where alcohol was a factor, per the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Nitrous oxide also causes some people to develop debilitating headaches that may be accompanied by a feeling of pressure that can’t be relieved, as well as auras in the visual plane. Additionally, mixing nitrous oxide with alcohol causes many people to vomit, which can be particularly risky if the individual has been misusing a lot of alcohol that could potentially render them unconscious. Many people who suffer fatality as a result of alcohol and drug-related causes actually fall asleep first and then vomit in their sleep. This can lead to aspiration of the stomach contents into the lungs, especially for those who have passed out on their backs.
One of the downfalls of nitrous oxide misuse is that it wears off fast. In fact, the high only lasts for about a minute. As the substance removes itself from the body fairly quickly, withdrawal also sets in sooner than it does with most substances. Since noz wears off within mere minutes, it entices people to keep misusing it repeatedly.
Persistent misuse of nitrous oxide puts people at risk for injury, because many who use it aren’t prepared for how severely it may inhibit their motor control. In some cases, an individual trying to heighten their high may enclose their head in a plastic bag while inhaling noz, which can lead to death.
Habitual use of alcohol can lead to:
- Liver damage.
- Alcohol poisoning.
- Delirium tremens.
There is no good reason to misuse alcohol or nitrous oxide, and combining the two substances can be deadly. The majority of people who misuse noz do so on a recreational basis, but as with any mind-altering substance, there is room for addiction where nitrous oxide is concerned. In addition, alcohol use disorder continues to plague the nation. Individuals who are dependent on alcohol may venture into noz misuse and then opt to use it every time they drink. This significantly increases the risk of side effects, accidents, and death.
Treating Alcohol Misuse in California
If you are struggling with nitrous oxide or alcohol misuse, or any other type of substance misuse, do not wait any longer to get the help you need. Reach out to us at our Orange County rehab right now to be connected to one of our compassionate and skilled rehab admissions navigators. They can provide you with a safe place to land, encouraging you to share the details about why you are calling so we can determine how we can best help offer you Orange County alcohol and drug abuse services. Our admissions navigators can also aid in providing further logistical information such as using insurance to pay for rehab, rehab payment options, the levels of addiction rehab we offer, plus much more.
Do not let another day pass. Contact our inpatient alcohol rehab right now at to get started on your road to recovery.