Whippets proven easy to score in Philadelphia

By Katherine Brachelli
March 16, 2006

College students are now bringing a new element to liven up the party, and it has been proven it is easy to score: nitrous oxide. Dabbling with the gas, nitrous oxide provides college students with the new “high” they are looking for.

However, nitrous oxide, which is most commonly known for its use in dental offices as an anesthetic or laughing gas, is no laughing matter. Nitrous oxide is becoming a fairly common recreational drug that is killing more than 100 college students a year. Nitrous oxide is also known as whippets.

Krissy Mongan, a sophomore psychology major, reflected on a party she was at with her peers where nitrous oxide was being used by several people. She recalled how she thought at first that many of the students were drunk, but it turned out they were just inhaling the nitrous oxide.

Mongan said, “I didn’t know anything about it, or if it was legal or not. Everyone there that used the nitrous oxide was acting like fools, and I was very uncomfortable. I couldn’t see the point of what they were doing. I guess it gave them the high they were looking for. They acted like it was the coolest thing ever. I thought it was stupid and immature, and I ended up leaving the party early.”

Whippets are a type of inhalant. Inhalants are breathable, chemical vapors that produce psychoactive or mind-altering effects. They fall into three general categories: solvents, gases and nitrites. Almost all abused inhalants produce effects similar to alcohol, which act to slow down the body’s functions.

Nitrites, however, act to increase heart rate and produce a sensation of heat and excitement. Their easy accessibility, low cost, and ease of concealment make inhalants one of the first substances abused and make them a perfect drug for financially-strapped college students looking for a quick high.

According to a recent investigative report done by John Atwater of Fox News, whippets are easy to get. Although nitrous is highly regulated, underground markets are keeping the gas flowing to people who abuse it. Doctors interviewed on Fox News urged the public not to abuse the use of nitrous. As stated on Fox News, if nitrous is used as an inhalant, oxidation of the body decreases, which causes less oxidation to the brain.

Atwater discovered that the deadly gas can be found in many adult bookstores all throughout the Philadelphia area.

Atwater easily purchased whippets in the first three adult bookstores he went in, Danny’s Adult Book Store, John’s Adult Bookstore and Sampson’s Cinema which are all located in Philadelphia, Pa. Each store clerk also educated Atwater on how to use the whippets and how they could, “give him a buzz in just a few seconds.”

The next day, all three clerks of the adult book and video stores were arrested and charged with selling illegal solvents. Narcotics officers confiscated more than 30 boxes of nitrous from all three stores. If the stores are caught again, the city will shut them down.

Lisa Napieralski, a junior elementary education major, said that during her first year as a resident assistant in Xavier Hall, two whippets were found in a student’s room. However, as soon as the whippets were discovered, public safety dealt with the situation and confiscated them right away.

Napieralski said, “I never knew what whippets looked like. That was the only time I have ever encountered them on Cabrini’s campus.”

Mongan said, “I think it is really surprising that people would go so far out of their way to access it. How do they benefit from it?”

Posted to the web by Shane Evans

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Katherine Brachelli

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