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Florida Whippet Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer 

Nitrous oxide, also known by various names including laughing gas, nitro, nangs, or hippie crack has a dual identity in Florida. While it can be a valuable tool in the medical field, offering sedation, anesthesia, and pain management, it has also gained notoriety as a recreational drug through whippets. Whippets are also referred to as “whippits” or “whip-its.” The origin of this name traces back to whipped-cream aerosol canisters, which are illicitly opened to access the gas within. The small metal tubes that contain the nitrous oxide are easily accessible online or at some smoke shops throughout Florida. 

If you or a loved one has been harmed due to the misuse of nitrous oxide or “whip-its”, in the state of Florida, you need a dedicated legal advocate by your side. Our experienced personal injury and wrongful death lawyers are here to help you seek justice and recover the compensation you deserve.

Contact us online or call 305-638-4143 today to discuss your case and explore your options.

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What is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a colorless, odorless gas commonly used in medical settings due to its anesthetic properties. It is administered safely by trained professionals, most commonly dentists, to manage pain or induce a state of sedation during medical procedures. However, nitrous oxide’s accessibility and ease of use have led to its misuse as a recreational drug, primarily in the form of inhalants.

One of the significant challenges in prosecuting nitrous oxide-related cases in Florida is the gas’s rapid elimination from an individual’s body. Nitrous oxide is exhaled within minutes after inhalation, making it difficult to provide concrete evidence in many cases. This evanescent nature of nitrous oxide poses a unique challenge for law enforcement agencies attempting to combat its misuse.

How Do Whippets Work?

Each “Whip It” canister is designed for use in a whipped cream dispenser, but unfortunately, they are often misused. Instead of their intended purpose, these canisters are frequently used for direct inhalation into the human body, sometimes using a balloon, resulting in a high that lasts approximately 30 to 45 seconds. 

Medical experts are still researching exactly how nitrous oxide affects your body, but they’ve found that the gas may:

  • lower your ability to sense pain, sound, or touch.
  • affect your brain’s emotional responses.
  • cause hallucinations
  • cause you to feel lightheaded
  • cause delusions and/or false beliefs
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Whippit Side Effects

Nitrous oxide is said to give off a feeling of giddiness and euphoria, however, it only lasts for under a minute and there are plenty of dangers associated with inhaling this gas. Nitrous oxide can have profound psychological and behavioral effects. It can strip away inhibitions, causing individuals to engage in reckless or perilous behaviors they might not otherwise consider. This impairment can lead to accidents, injuries, or other harmful consequences.

The short term effects of nitrous oxide use include:

  • Tingling sensation
  • Relaxed muscles
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Feeling airy
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of balance or coordination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unclear eyesight

Whip Its can also cause more serious long-term effects including:

  • Brain damage
  • Liver damage
  • Hearing loss
  • Kidney damage or failure
  • Breathing trouble
  • Nerve damage
  • A loss of overall coordination
  • Damage to your bone marrow
  • Leg or arm spasms
  • Heart rate changes
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • No control over bladder or bowels
  • Depression
  • Psychosis

The gravest danger lies in the potential for oxygen deprivation. Inhaling excessive nitrous oxide can displace the oxygen in your body and brain, leading to a cascade of severe effects. This oxygen deprivation can result in a loss of consciousness, a potentially life-threatening coma, or, in the worst cases, death.

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Since whippets are often found in smoke shops, public events, or even online, they may appear harmless, but there are legal implications in Florida. Similarly to other states, Florida has enacted laws to curb the possession and distribution of nitrous oxide for non-medical purposes. Possessing nitrous oxide for recreational use can result in criminal charges under Florida law.

Under Florida Statute Section 877.111(4), possessing, distributing, selling, purchasing, or transferring over 16 grams of nitrous oxide can lead to a third-degree felony charge. Convictions may incur fines up to $5,000 and prison sentences of up to 5 years. An exception exists when nitrous oxide is used for medical purposes prescribed by a licensed practitioner.

In a groundbreaking legal case, a St. Louis jury handed down a staggering $745 million verdict against the distributor and local retailer of Whip-It! nitrous oxide cartridges. The jury found the defendants, a manufacturer, distributor, and local “head shop” guilty of showing a “deliberate disregard” for public safety by selling this food-preparation product to many people for use as a recreational drug, including a young driver who subsequently inhaled its contents, leading to a tragic accident that claimed the life of 25-year-old Marissa Politte.  It was alleged that the defendants knew that the products they were selling we never going to be used for any reason other than for young adults to get high.

Contact Our Florida Attorneys For a Free Consultation

The recreational use of whip-its and nitrous oxide can result in unforeseen injuries and long-lasting consequences. If you or someone you love has been harmed due to the improper use of these products, our dedicated personal injury attorneys at Flanagan & Bodenheimer are here to assist you in your legal journey. 

Contact us online or call 305-638-4143 today to discuss your case and explore your options.

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