A ‘HIPPY crack’ warning has been issued for Brits in Spanish resorts after a string of deaths and falls.
Holidaymakers have been urged to steer clear of nitrous oxide – or laughing gas – following two tragedies and several serious injuries linked to the craze.
A 26-year-old Swedish man was found dead in a pool in Marbella on July 20 after allegedly inhaling the drug during a stag party.
Police are also investigating the death of a 23-year-old man whose body was discovered at his home in the same Costa del Sol resort in May, surrounded by hundreds of empty canisters.
The laughing gas trend has also seen several young people plunge from height into swimming pools in what is known as “balconing”.
A British man was left fighting for life after plummeting from a third-floor apartment in San Pedro de Alcantara in June.
The 31-year-old smashed his head when he missed the water and hit the ground after bingeing on ‘hippy crack’ and alcohol.
Just a few hours earlier a British girl was badly hurt after getting out of a moving vehicle and throwing herself off a bridge in a nearby area.
She was also thought to have taken nitrous oxide on top of alcohol when partying with friends.
The girl, believed to be under 16, fell about 30ft onto a golf course and broke both legs.
Cops last month arrested two men and seized more than 70 bottles of nitrous oxide, along with leaflets offering the supply of the gas to private parties on the Costa del Sol.
There were also bags of balloons, which are used to consume the substance, as well as advertising brochures and price lists in a van stopped by two officers.
One of them reportedly phoned the number on the van and the mobile of one of the arrested men rang.
In a separate raid on an illegal party in a villa in Benalmádena, numerous laughing gas canisters were found in the garden.
Police have reiterated the dangers associated with the consumption of ‘hippy crack’, which can cause hallucinations.
Nitrous oxide is a colourless substance with a slightly metallic taste that can be found in both liquid and compressed gas forms.
Legally it can be used in small quantities as an anaesthetic for operations by dentists, as well as for whipping cream or batter in baking.
However, inhaling the gas has become fashionable among young people at parties as it is relatively cheap.
Each canister – or sometimes called a charger – can cost as little as 50p, which provides a short-lived ‘hit’.
Police warn that the recreational use of nitrous oxide can cause changes and damage to the nervous system, as well as blood and lung cells.
These harmful health effects are magnified if people combine it with alcohol.
The death of the Swedish tourist on Tuesday is still being probed, with police saying: “According to the first investigations, the young man jumped into the pool and hit his head, leaving him unconscious in the water.
“His friends and medics had tried to save him but he died.”
The possible link between the tourist’s death and the consumption of laughing gas was reported by Spanish outlet Sur.es.