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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Nitrous oxide suspected in \accidental"" death of local man

Officials said they will conduct an autopsy on a young Madison man who was found dead in his apartment at 642 State St. Saturday afternoon. 




The man, whose name will be released today, was in his 20s and lived in Hawthorne Apartments, according to Deputy Coroner John Stanley. Stanley said there did not seem as though a second party was involved, but investigators found nitrous oxide in the apartment and are speculating on whether or not the victim was using it. 




A roommate who found the body when she returned home after Thanksgiving weekend temporarily vacated the apartment since she found the body, according to a man who requested to remain anonymous and also lives in Hawthorne Apartments. 




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The man said the victim was a nice, caring person. 




\We were awake all night,"" he said, referring to himself and other friends of the victim. ""None of us could fall asleep because of [the death]."" 




He said the victim was depressed and capable of committing suicide. 




""He was depressed because of a breakup with his girlfriend,"" the man said. ""He was really devastated when she left."" 




The girlfriend also formerly lived in the building. 




The man said he did not want ""to say anything to distort [the victim's] image,"" so he refused to comment on the possibility of nitrous oxide use. 




Another resident of the building said ""it was an accident,"" but would not elaborate on the comment. 




Nitrous oxide, contained in whipping-cream dispensers, or ""whippets,"" is a widely used recreational drug that produces a brief, high feeling when inhaled by the user. Dentists often use nitrous oxide as a painkiller, dispensed through a mask and often called ""laughing gas."" 




Local, state and federal authorities have recently cracked down on Madison liquor and drug paraphernalia stores by ordering them to stop selling the whipping-cream cartridges.

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