An Australian doctor has issued a warning after treating a woman who was left unable to walk after inhaling 360 canisters of nitrous oxide in one week.
The unnamed student who is 20 has damaged the nerves in her spinal cord, and doctors have now warned she may never fully recover.
Credit: ABC/7 Programme
She's currently undergoing physiotherapy and rehabilitation in attempts to teach her how to walk again.
Her story was featured on ABC's 7.30 programme in Australia to try and warn young people about the potentially harmful effects of the party drug, which has been linked to a number of death in recent years.
Doctor Andrew Dawson, a toxicologist, said: "Very recently I had a 20-year-old patient whose brain appeared to have the same level of damage as an alcoholic who had been drinking for 40 years.
"We have had a doubling of the number of calls from hospitals about significantly affected people from nitrous oxide exposure.
"Those effects are severe nerve injury, or sometimes brain injury. There has been a real spike over the last two years.
"Those deaths can relate to anything from the exploding of the small cylinders, to people becoming hypoxic - that is, short of oxygen - from overuse."
Doctor Betty Cha, also a toxicologist, added that users can end up with anaemia, nerve damage, neurological damage and psychological issues, so of them cannot be reversed once the damage is done.
Nitrous oxide is particularly popular with younger people because it's cheap and easy to get hold of. According to the Global Drug Survey nitrous oxide was the seventh most popular drug in the world in 2016.
The drug is the seventh most popular in the world. Credit: PA
In the UK, the use of nitrous oxide, which is also known as 'hippy crack' and nos, is still illegal if it's being used for its 'psychoactive effect'. However, it's still legally used for medical products.
In February 2014, 21-year-old Jordan Guise died after inhaling nitrous oxide. The British born chef who was working in France was found by his boss after failing to turn up for work.
His mum, Leesa Malpas, said he had found out just two days before his death that he was going to be a dad for the first time.
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