Nitrous oxide is all the rage in Southern California. The drug, used by dentists as laughing gas and often referred to by kids as whippits, has evolved from a rave staple to a mainstream party favor, according to Los Angeles authorities, and has been the cause of numerous rapes, car accidents, and teen deaths in recent years. The L.A. County Sheriff’s Office said it’s cracking down on nitrous use, using a new social-media team that monitors discussion of illegal activities online. Since September the experts have busted 350 illegal parties where people were selling the drug.
KIDS THESE DAYS Nitrous oxide in medical use. (Peet Simard/Corbis)