nitrous oxide

Paramedics in Sarasota County are turning away from opioids to treat patients in pain.

Instead, they will primarily use nitrous oxide also known as laughing gas.

Since the mid-1800s, laughing gas been used for pain relief, but these days it's usually associated with a visit to the dentist.

In the early 20th century, women used laughing gas to ease the pain of labor, but its use declined in favor of more potent analgesia. Now a small band of midwives is helping to revive its use in the U.S.

One hospital in Rhode Island, South County Hospital in South Kingstown, has just added nitrous oxide, the formal name for laughing gas, to its menu of pain relief options for labor.