Doctors warn of the dangers of ingesting nitrous oxide in light of OU student death

Nine people are facing charges in connection with the death of an Ohio University student.

Earlier this week, three of those people were in court, accused of hazing a student at a fraternity party.

The coroner said that student died after ingesting nitrous oxide, also known as “whippet.”

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News Center 7's Katy Andersen talked with a doctor about the dangers of this drug.

A whippet is a tiny canister filled with nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas.

“Most commonly dental offices though is where you see it,” Miami Valley Hospital Doctor Dennis Mann said.

Doctors warn that if nitrous oxide is huffed, it can cause lung and nerve damage, but can also be deadly.

“You can get numbness, tingling, even cases of paralysis have been reported,” Mann said.

Last year, 18-year-old Collin Wiant who was a student at Ohio University died from asphyxiation by ingesting nitrous oxide after he inhaled gas from a whippet.

“The primary danger of inhaling a gas like nitrous oxide is fixations. You do too much of it and it causes, essentially,  you to suffocate yourself,” said Mann.

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While whippets are not illegal, using them to get high is against the law.

Dr. Mann says parents should know and look for the signs.

“Empty canisters, metal canister being scattered around the car, things like that. Frequent trips to a certain grocery supply store would be a giveaway as well,” he said.

If you or someone you know has taken nitrous oxide, call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

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