By Charles Sercombe
You’ve probably have noticed those little silver cannisters on the ground, maybe at the curb or in parking lots.
For those who cook, you will know them as nitrous oxide cannisters, commonly called whippets, and they are used for making whipped cream.
You can take our word on this, the whippets littering the ground weren’t used to make a yummy dessert.
Instead, folks are using them to inhale the nitrous oxide to get a short high – usually lasting just a few moments to maybe a few minutes. Dentists also use nitrous oxide to help ease the anxiety of their patients.
And it’s legal – sort of.
It’s legal in the sense that stores can sell them, but you can’t use them to get high. And storeowners can’t sell them if they know the whippets will be used to get high.
Clubgoers are known to use them by emptying the cannisters into balloons and then inhaling the gas.
On the street, they are also known as “whip-its, “nox” and “nossies,” according to an online urban dictionary.
The trend got attention back in 2012 when actress Demi Moore reportedly overdosed on it.
Some local markets are known to sell them.
As far as catching anyone misusing them, it appears to be off the radar of most police departments, including Hamtramck’s.
There have been no reported incidents of people being ticketed or arrested for the illegal use or sale of whippets.
But the telltale evidence is especially apparent in the city parking lot on Caniff and McDougall.
There you can see dozens of the empty cannisters scattered around.
Our guess is that people going to a certain nearby club are the culprits – but that’s just a guess.
Police Chief Anne Moise said she is unaware of any local store selling them.
“But any assistance is appreciated in cracking down on these locations if there are any in town,” she told The Review.
Cracking down on stores and markets is one thing, but people can easily buy whippets online without interference or threat of arrest.
At amazon.com. a pack of 50 cannisters sells for $38.
One reviewer of a certain brand of whippets, with tongue firmly in cheek (and an obvious nod that he and his friends were getting high), wrote this:
“I ordered these for a ‘pie eating contest’ I was having with some friends. Man, what a great night. We must have ‘eaten’ 5 dozen ‘pies’ each. Literally just one after the other until our ears started to ring.
“One of my friends was so ‘full,’ he fell over and started flopping like a fish. All the rest of us could do was sit there and laugh at him. The only bad part about these whipped cream chargers was running out of ‘whipped cream’ at 5 a.m. on a Saturday and having to wait for more.”
Feb. 15, 2019