If you’ve ever gotten home from the grocery store with a can of whipped cream that doesn’t work, you’re at least one degree of separation from an old method of drug abuse that’s gaining new momentum. Powering that whipped cream can is a small dose of nitrous oxide, which escapists young and old long ago figured out can get them high, provided they suck right from the spout before shaking the can.
They’re called “whip-its,” whippets, whipits or whippits, and while there may be no universally agreed upon spelling, no one seems to dispute that abuse of the drug has been surging in recent years. The L.A. County sheriff’s recent “crackdown” on the use of nitrous oxide as a party drug comes after a crackdown in California, with arrests at more than 350 illegal parties where “noz” was being sold. Fatal car accidents, rapes, and teen deaths have all recently been attributed to the drug.
So what’s a whip-it?