Police warning after laughing gas found to be cause of student’s death

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Police have issued a warning not to inhale laughing gas after the death of a student.

Aaron Dunford, who was studying at the University of Brighton, was found dead at his home in Roundhill Crescent, Brighton, on March 2 and an inquest found his death was related to the misuse of nitrous oxide gas, commonly referred to as laughing gas.

An investigation into the 22-year-old’s death found he was a regular user of the substance and approximately 200 empty canisters were found within his room.

On Monday (June 22) an inquest, held at Brighton and Hove Coroners Court, heard Mr Dunford had died due to a misadventure by asphyxiation, inhalation of nitrous oxide and chronic nerve pain likely due to B12 deficiency caused by chronic use of nitrous oxide gas.

Detective Inspector Mick Jones, who has overseen the investigation on behalf of the coroner, said: “Anyone considering using this substance in this way should think again. The effect of asphyxia through inhalation could happen on the first occasion it is used or after repeated use.

“This tragic case has highlighted that even when it does not result in a fatality that there are longer term effects on your health as despite the deceased being a young man, he was unable to walk down a simple flight of steps due to the chronic pain he had in his knees which was a direct result of using nitrous oxide gas.”

Police have said nitrous oxide has several legitimate uses but when inhaled it can give a person a feeling of light-headedness or euphoria.

They added it is becoming more and more popular to use as a way of achieving a short term high and although it is not an offence to be in possession of it this does not mean it is safe to use.

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