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23rd Oct 2023

Woman is now in a wheelchair and can’t move her legs after getting addicted to ‘nangs’


From November 8 it will be illegal to possess the NOS

A woman has been left in a wheelchair after inhaling 600 cannister a week ‘laughing gas’.

Kerry-Anne Donaldson supports the government’s nitrous oxide ban that comes into force on November 8 but says it won’t stop all users. The legislation will make it illegal to possess NOS – which will become a Class C drug – and repeat serious users could face up to 2 years in prison and dealers up to 14 years.

Kerry-Anne, 26, started doing NOS at parties when she was 18 – becoming addicted to the high – but by 21 her legs and feet were doing numb and she was in a wheelchair.

And recently – after pushing herself to walk with crutches – she says some symptoms are worse than ever before, with the numbness now spreading to her hands.

Speaking after the ban was announced, the former receptionist, from Newham, East London, said: “I don’t think the law will get it off the streets. If someone wants it, there will always be a way to buy it.”

Kerry-Anne added: “Kids have always found a way to get illegal drugs, so I’m not sure it will actually stop them, but it should at least push up the prices and prevent overuse.”

When Kerry-Anne was using NOS she said she would be “straight on the balloons” as soon as she woke up.

“I kept chasing the original high I felt, but because my head was already rushing, I couldn’t find it,” she explained.

Kerry-Anne is now on a lot of pain medication and because she would barely eat when she was using is now also anaemic. She also suffers from shortness of breath which has affected her asthma.

Kerry-Anne’s dad is now her primary carer, something she is “so lucky to have”, and her mother and sister also help out: “I don’t know what I would do without them.”

Despite noticing the impact NOS was having on her, Kerry-Anne kept increasing her dosage until ultimately she had to see a doctor.

She said: “The doctor asked if I had taken anything so I was honest and told him I had been using canisters and balloons.

“That’s when he informed me what was in them – nitrous oxide – and told me about the effects.

“He said the reason I’m in pain and unable to walk is because of the damage it causes. It blocks oxygen from going around your body and to your brain and destroys your vitamin B12 levels.”

Kerry-Anne was eventually hospitalised and put in a wheelchair at which point she swore off the substance.

But as she began to recover she started to abuse the drug again, inhaling the gas from “morning to night”.

Kerry-Anne’s legs began to feel numb again in early 2021 so she decided to quit the substance again.

She was also told then she had a vitamin B12 deficiency, which she began receiving injections for, three times a week for three months.

Heavy regular use of nitrous oxide can lead to a deficiency of vitamin B12 and to a form of anaemia, according to anti-drugs advisory service FRANK.

Severe B12 deficiency can lead to serious nerve damage, causing tingling and numbness in the fingers and toes, it added.

Even after an entire year off the high, Kerry-Anne completely lost feeling in her legs in January 2022.

She was bed-bound for months, relying on assistance from family and friends to do even the simplest of tasks, such as showering and getting dressed.

Kerry-Anne got a wheelchair in July 2022 and has been using it ever since.

Recently, after pushing herself to start walking with crutches, Kerry-Annne says her symptoms have worsened, with the numbness spreading from her legs and feet, to her hands and fingers.

“About a month ago I started to struggle using my hands, having to use both to drink from a glass,” she said.

“The doctor said my folic acid and iron is low, but they haven’t been very helpful over the past few years other than prescribing pain medicine and they’ve recently referred me to the pain clinic.”

Kerry-Anne is pleased that the new laws will hopefully get the previously accessible drug off the streets as she feels strongly about saving other teenagers from the same fate.

“I started my Tiktok @_theydontloveyou and posted videos about my story, and some went viral,” she said.

“I feel like maybe this was my calling – to help others, and it’s really improved my mental health, which was never great even before the balloons.”

Related links:

Neurologist says nos ‘is more dangerous than cocaine’ – and some kids are consuming 150 canisters a day

Nitrous oxide: Home Office will ban laughing gas as early as next week

British people are taking one party drug more than anywhere else in the world