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MIT Student Dies From Laughing Gas

September 1, 1999

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) _ An MIT junior was found dead in his dorm room early Tuesday after using a plastic bag to inhale laughing gas, campus officials said.

The body of Richard Guy, 22, was discovered shortly after midnight Monday. Guy, of Mission Viejo, Calif., was a physics major.

The medical examiner said Guy died from asphyxiation as a result of nitrous oxide intoxication.

``It’s just a shame,″ said Chris Johnson, 19, an MIT sophomore from Columbia, Tenn. ``Some of the smartest kids in the world are here. Maybe they think they’re too smart to suffer the consequences.″

Used as a recreational drug to get high, nitrous oxide can cause dizziness, light-headedness and euphoria.

Pure nitrous oxide dissolves in the bloodstream, pushing oxygen out from the blood into the lungs, depriving the brain and other organs of oxygen. Dentists frequently use it as a painkiller.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology officials released few other details and did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Classes aren’t scheduled to begin at MIT until Sept. 7, but freshmen and some upperclassmen had already moved into their rooms.

In September 1997, 18-year-old freshman Scott Krueger died three days after he was found in an alcohol-induced coma on a fraternity floor.

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