National Police on the Costa del Sol are warning of the dangers of consuming laughing gas after it played a role in two serious incidents in Marbella in the space of 24 hours.
A girl was seriously injured after getting out of a moving vehicle and subsequently throwing herself off a bridge. While a 31-year-old man remains in a critical condition after attempting to jump from a third floor holiday apartment into a swimming pool - which is commonly known as 'balconing' in Spain.
According to police enquiries both incidents have a common denominator: both victims had allegedly consumed 'laughing gas' mixed with alcohol.
The first of these events happened last Sunday and, according to police investigations, the girl had been consuming alcohol and ‘laughing gas’ with some friends before the incident.
Only a few hours later, at dawn on Monday, a 31-year-old British man plunged to the ground from a third-floor holiday rental apartment in San Pedro de Alcántara. Police said that before jumping off the balcony towards the swimming pool, the young man was partying with some friends consuming nitrous oxide and alcohol. He remains in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Malaga.
Finding this link between the two cases, the National Police have issued a warning of the dangers associated with the consumption of nitrous oxide, better known as 'laughing gas', which can cause hallucinations.
Nitrous oxide is a colourless substance with a slightly metallic taste that can be found in both a liquid and compressed gas forms.
Legally it can be used in small quantities as an anaesthetic for operations by dentists or also for industrial purposes in baking.
However, in recent years the consumption of 'laughing gas' has become fashionable among young people at parties, as it is relatively cheap.
The police warn that the use of nitrous oxide in these circumstances can cause changes and damage in the nervous system, as well as blood and lung cells. These harmful health effects are magnified if people combine it with alcohol.