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Local News

Youth succeed in getting whippets banned

Five young people with a drawing of a pair of lungs incorporating nitrous oxide canisters, or whippets.
Members of the Youth Leadership Coalition with whippet art

A group of teens worked with the Ukiah City Council to enact a ban on whippets, a party drug that deprives the brain of oxygen and can lead to death or lifelong impairment.

April 28, 2022 – The Youth Leadership Coalition, a teen program of Redwood Community Services’ Arbor Center, successfully lobbied Ukiah’s City Council to pass an ordinance banning the commercial sale of nitrous oxide canisters, known as whippets, within the city limits. Whippets, which have become a popular party drug among young people, deprive the brain of oxygen and can cause strokes, leading to death or lifelong disability. The nonbiodegradable canisters are also an environmental nuisance.

The ordinance went into effect in March, and prohibits Ukiah city businesses operating under a tobacco retailer’s license, from selling the drug. The Youth Leadership Coalition is now staged to assess the success of the mandate and plans to address the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors in an effort to bring the ordinance to a county level.

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Stacey Sheldon has lived in Mendocino County for over 25 years. She teaches in public school, plays in community theater, hikes with Earth Firsters, and married a local hill hippie. She appreciates Mendocino's creative community and the opportunity to tell their stories.