After nitrous oxide hit L.A.'s rave scene in the early 1990s, the DJ Green Velvet released an ode to the drug. He called the track “Flash,” which describes the experience of inhaling the gas nearly to the point of blacking out. You flash in and out of consciousness.
On the recording, the DJ is heard warning “parents” that their children could be into “the gas called nitrous.”
But these days it looks like it's the elders who need a warning from the kids:
What is a “whip-it”? It's a small canister of nitrous intended to be used for injecting air into cream to create whipped cream. Since they're legal for that use, they're readily available. (Nitrous is not legal for recreational use, Demi.)
You can find them at your friendly neighborhood gay porn shop (not that we'd know), along with “crackers,” used to pierce the canisters and let out the gas.
Some folks, as Green Velvet says, fill balloons with the gas. The real pros, at least back in the day, steal “medical grade” tanks from dentists' offices (there was a rash of such burglaries in the '90s) and sell balloons filled with that good stuff.
Passing out was a rite of passage.
Sometimes ravers died, which is what happened to three young men in 1992 when they were huffing from a full-size, medical-grade tank in a pickup truck cab. Authorities believe that, with the windows shut, the whole cabin filled with nitrous, depriving the L.A. trio of air.
That's the danger with nitrous, which appears to otherwise be a fairly clean drug (the high is brief, though, and it sure does seem to send people to the hospital):
You still think you're breathing, but you're taking in stuff that isn't oxygen.
At dentists' offices, a pro with an oxygen tank (a nitrous DJ, so to speak) will get the right mix so you're actually breathing air along with the drug.
We think it would be hard to go too far on whip-its, since they're so tiny and only offer so much gas.
But perhaps Moore chain-smoked them.
In any case, we welcome the newly single older woman to the scene. Have you been to Avalon lately? Damn. Lots of hot old ladies.
Rock on … responsibly.