Kiwi kickons are often soundtracked by whipped cream canisters cracking and balloons whooshing full of laughing gas. Is that a good thing?
Patrick Gower, one of NZ’s finest journalists, has explored the 'nang-verse', as he calls it, and found some scary shit about the little metal canisters that can send you to another dimension.
In an episode of ‘Paddy Gower Has Issues’, the man himself is in a flat, sitting on the couch as four students are huffing back nang after nang as Tame Impala plays. Paddy G doesn’t partake, but he is curious.
He asks the students how they feel right after the nang and (once the effects wore off) if they’re scared of the drug's potential to harm. They’re not - pointing to the fact that nos is ranked as the least harmful drug in New Zealand.
If they heard what Paddy was told by a neurologist at Auckland Hospital, they might reconsider their answer.
Nine people, at the time of recording the episode, had gone into the hospital unable to walk after doing nangs and many more had been admitted for other problems.
"Patients are presenting days to weeks after using nangs with a multitude of symptoms," Dr. Shilpan Patel told Paddy.
These symptoms include "numbness or weakness in their limbs or having changes in mental state, such as changes in cognition, or even features of psychosis."
In the most extreme case, a girl who did nangs for the first time ended up being admitted to the hospital quadriplegic i.e. unable to move any of her limbs.
“That’s scary,” Paddy said.
Paddy reckons NZ should implement a harm-reduction strategy when it comes to the laws around nangs, which currently can be ordered online or bought at dairies and vape shops if you're over 18.
“Nangs are a part of Kiwi life now,” he said. “There's no point in trying to lock these away when there are way more harmful illegal and legal drugs (alcohol) out there.”
“Let's grow up. We could actually have some sensible drug policy around this. Take out the hysteria and focus on the actual harm which isn't much."
He specifically calls for NZ to:
- “Make a proper new law allowing nitrous use for over 18s.”
- “Sell them somewhere appropriate, like bottle shops, for exactly what they’re going to be used for. No more of this crap that they’re for catering.”
- “Put them in plain boxes, with sensible safety advice.”
Like any 'extracurricular', if you're gonna do nangs, be safe.