Leavers’ arrival sparks gas fears

Zoe KeenanSouth Western Times
Leavers will mostly be centred around Dunsborough and Busselton with many passing through Bunbury.
Camera IconLeavers will mostly be centred around Dunsborough and Busselton with many passing through Bunbury. Credit: Busselton Dunsborough Times

Dunsborough retailers have been asked not to stock nitrous oxide canisters this week in an attempt to stop school leavers inhaling the gas.

A rise in the trend of inhaling the gas inside the canisters, commonly known as nangs, among today’s youth has police on high alert during schoolies week.

Inhaling the gas can cause an instant rush of euphoria but could also cause death, according to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.

But the canisters, commonly used for whipping cream, can be legally purchased from many retailers.

Dunsborough police have urged retailers not to sell the canisters as almost 9000 schoolies flocked to the South West at the weekend.

“We’ve been given the heads up about them (nangs) and we’ve gone around to retailers in Dunsborough and no retailers will be having them for sale during the leavers’ period,” Dunsborough police officer-in-charge Sergeant Jane Gillham said.

Sgt Gillham said the use of nitrous oxide was not solely a leavers’ issue and police often found discarded canisters around town on any occasion.

“We do sporadically find a lot of discarded nangs behind shops and in areas where youth are up to no good,” she said.

“It’s just a trend now, I wouldn’t point the finger at leavers. It’s all year around.”

The South West will see a surge in the number of schoolies after Rottnest Island canned its leavers events this year.

But South West district superintendent Geoff Stewart said additional police and a range of groups and organisations would ensure the week ran smoothly for leavers and the communities.

“Over the years it has evolved to a point now where it is really successful in terms of actually providing areas for them to go and it makes it easier for the community as well,” Supt Stewart said.

As many schoolies are now graduating 18-year-olds, Supt Stewart urged them not to drink and drive.

“Be safe, look out for your mates and don’t let leavers be a bad memory for you,” he said.

“Have a good time but be respectful of the community that is inviting you down to share their beautiful places.”

He urged members of the community who had any issues during leavers to report it to police immediately instead of waiting.

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