Dunedin business under fire for 'exploitative' 24/7 nitrous oxide delivery to students

An online business offering late night and early morning delivery of nitrous oxide, or NOS, to Dunedin residents has suspended its business.

Dunedin Party Supplies made the decision following concerns about the accessibility of the gas, which is used as a party drug.

The business targets Otago University students and has come under fire for selling nitrous oxide, otherwise known as NOS or nangs.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy Ōtepoti Dunedin president Max Phillips said nitrous oxide can be consumed safely, "but one of the dangers is accessibility".

During Orientation Week at Otago University, Dunedin Party Supplies was offering 24/7 delivery of nitrous oxide. A flyer was distributed around campus advertising the free service.

"It gives people quite a short but intense euphoric high," Phillips said.

It's not just the free delivery that raised concerns, but the amount of gas being offered.

Normal-sized canisters are about 8.5 grams which deliver one 'hit' - the Miami Magic Nos is 615 grams - that's about 72 'hits'.

The website states the product is for whipping cream and catering purposes, but Students for Sensible Drug Policy Ōtepoti Dunedin said it highlights the need for regulation.

"An adequate regulation and supply of nitrous oxide would prevent people like Dunedin Party Supplies taking advantage of people like students," Phillips said.

A screenshot of the site.
A screenshot of the site. Photo credit: Newshub

The UK government has gone one step further, last year banning possession of nitrous oxide in England and Wales in an effort to curb anti-social behaviour.

Experts say it can also cause serious neurological damage.

But for now here in New Zealand, Otago University Students' Association president Keegan Wells said "knowing where anything that you're taking or buying is coming from is really important, that extends beyond drugs and alcohol".

With O-week over, Dunedin Party Supplies reduced delivery to late night and early morning only.

But that doesn't change Students for Sensible Drug Policy Ōtepoti Dunedin's stance.

"Dunedin Party Supplies appear to operate in an exploitative manner," Phillips said.

Newshub contacted Dunedin Party Supplies and raised these concerns.

After initially agreeing to an interview, they called back to cancel it.

A short time later they sent a statement saying they had suspended the business and had taken the website offline.