Becoming a nitrous oxide user on social media: Learning to maximise pleasures and minimise harms
Oct 7, 2022
A paper has been published in the International Journal of Drug Policy titled “Becoming a nitrous user on social media: Learning to maximise pleasures and minimise harms.” The title of the article references the famous 1953 book by Howard Becker “Becoming a marijuana user” which described the ways that drug use is a learned, social experience. In this paper, the authors describe a research project that analysed the content of a Reddit online discussion board that focused exclusively on the use of nitrous oxide. The authors described content posted to the discussion board including practices to enhance the intoxicating effects of nitrous oxide (such as breathing techniques) as well as harm reduction practices like filtering the outlet of the nitrous dispenser to reduce exposure to oil residue. The members of the discussion board showed a strong concern about health risks, and a willingness to implement harm reduction strategies. This paper demonstrates the benefits of working with people who use drugs to enhance these harm reduction practices, and to correct misinterpretations of scientific literature which could limit the effectiveness of some harm reduction strategies.