WILL COUNTY - An ordinance passed in Manhattan on Tuesday prohibits the sale of nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, marking a first-of-its-kind measure in Will County and possibly across Illinois.
All members of the Manhattan Village Board unanimously supported the ordinance, which removes nitrous oxide, also called laughing gas and whippets, from store shelves in the village. The affected establishments include a vape shop, a liquor store, and a grocery store, none of whose owners attended the meeting.
Police Chief Jeff Wold of Manhattan expressed concerns about the substance's potential as a party drug among teenagers and college students due to its affordability, with a full box costing less than $20.
Inhalation of nitrous oxide can lead to harmful effects on the body, including cutting off oxygen to the brain, with irreversible consequences.
Over the past two years, Manhattan police have encountered individuals who have overdosed on the drug or exhibited erratic driving behavior while under its influence.
The ordinance's impact extends beyond Manhattan, as village officials collaborate with state legislators to develop a bill aimed at banning the sale of whippets statewide.