Motorists have spotted a driver inhaling a canister of nitrous oxide while behind the wheel on a busy freeway.
Shocked commuters filmed the man as they drove alongside each other on Perth’s Mitchell Freeway on Wednesday afternoon.
As the motorists speed up past the man’s window, he can be seen lifting the gas discharger towards his mouth.
Nitrous oxide, which is used medically to relieve pain and as a propellant in whipped cream bottles, is packaged in small cylinder cartridges.
The practice of inhaling the gas, also known as ‘doing a nang’, gives the user a temporary ‘high’ while starving their brain of oxygen.
The process is extremely dangerous and has led to deaths and people being permanently disabled.
Last year, doctors called for the legally available bottles to be banned after children were increasingly turning to the substance for recreational drug use.
Professor Andrew Dawson said ‘nangs’ can cause irreversible brain damage.
‘The nerves lose part of their outer sheath, their outer covering, and they no longer conduct signals properly,’ he told 7 News. It is only illegal for someone to supply or sell nitrous oxide to another person if they know it will be used to get ‘high’.
Long term affects include memory loss, incontinence, numbness in the hands or feet, limb spasms, disruption to reproductive systems, depression, and psychosis.
There have been two recorded deaths from recreational use of the drug since 2010 in Australia and the drug was linked to 18 deaths in the UK between the years 2013 – 2016.