Laughing gas is the latest 'less dangerous than alcohol' drug to be demonised by the media

The apoplexy over Raheem Sterling inhaling a balloon of nitrous oxide is misplaced

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Today, a video surfaced of Liverpool FC player Raheem Sterling inhaling nitrous oxide with friends, an indication, if the tabloids are to be believed, that he is descending into drug-addled mania that will end with him standing naked on the top of Caesers Palace yelling about the Premier League being run by the secret service/aliens.

More worryingly, Sterling was "also exposed on Sunday after he was caught puffing on a shisha pipe" according to the Daily Mail, which also frowned at Jack Wilshere who has "previously been pictured smoking cigarettes", the deviant.

The articles circulating this morning are rife with misinformation. They point to 17 deaths since 2006 'caused' by the legal high, which if you delve into always involve other factors, such as people putting entire balloons over their heads and thus suffocating or using masks for extended periods of time and starving their brains of oxygen. It's akin to 17 people dying after drowning in a vat of Ribena and blaming the tragedy on the effects of Ribena itself.

Raheem Sterling was splashed all over the front page of The Sun this morning

Nitrous oxide's effects can of course be dangerous and cause accidents due to their dissociative nature, but this is the same with alcohol, a far more addictive and deadly drug.

The way in which laughing gas is consumed is far more dangerous than its effects (as DrugScience and DrugScope attest), and, as is the case with other drugs, this is ironically reinforced by the atmosphere of secrecy and illicitness the scornful media creates. Legalise marijuana and safer marijuana is produced. Disseminate practical, non-hysterical information about nitrous oxide and less people will fatally misuse it.

Raheem Sterling is a 20-year-old man being a 20-year-old man. Nothing to see here.