HEALTH chiefs are to investigate concerns that more young people are using illegal laughing gas on the streets of Oldham.

During an overview and scrutiny meeting, Hollinwood councillor Jean Stretton questioned public health officials on what the local authority could do to tackle the craze.

She said: “One of the things I’m increasingly concerned about is the use of nitrous oxide canisters.

“Just this week I have had three complaints of three particular locations, I get older people ringing up saying why is there loads of kids running around with balloons, as they’re using them to inhale the gas.

“As a local authority is there anything we are doing about that at the moment?

“I’ve got the detached youth team and police onto it in the locations that I’ve been notified about.

“It just feels like it’s getting worse.”

Cllr Diane Williamson, who serves Crompton ward, added: “We have had reports where we have started to see a build up in certain locations, within Shaw and Crompton where these kids were.

“And then it seemed to stop and then all of a sudden you get the summer holidays or Easter holidays whatever and you found loads and loads of boxes where they had taken them out and stuff like that.”

Dr Charlotte Stevenson, consultant in public health at Oldham’s Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “I don’t know anything about that personally but I know which members of the team to take that back to. We can take your concerns to them to look into.”

Public Health England warn there are serious risks associated with nitrous oxide, especially when mixed with alcohol.

The short-term effects of laughing gas include feelings of euphoria, dizziness, impaired judgement and even hallucinations.

There are also potential long term effects due to the oxygen in the lungs being replaced with nitrous oxide, which can lead to a heart attack, severe brain damage or death.