The Essex star poses for a controversial photo

TOWIE‘s Jessica Wright has come under fire for posing with a balloon filled with ‘hippy crack’ at a music festival last month.

The brunette star, 27, uploaded photos – which have now been deleted – online of herself and pals smiling while apparently inhaling nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas.

‘Balloons at HD fest! x,’ Tweeted Jess alongside one snap.

Nitrous oxide is used medically as an anaesthetic but has become a recreational drug that is said to give users a similar high to crack cocaine.

While the substance is legal in the UK, it starves the body of oxygen and can cause hallucinations.

‘Misuse of nitrous oxide has resulted in a number of deaths in the UK, and it should not be seen as harmless fun,’ says drugs charity Re-Solve director Stephen Ream.

‘It is responsible for 16 deaths in the UK between 2006 and 2009, and 52 since 1971.

‘It is very disappointing to see Jess Wright promoting such a dangerous activity to her young Twitter followers.’

A spokesperson for Jess declined to comment to The Sun.

SEE PICTURES Jessica Wright at Olympus Has Fallen film premiere in London

SEE PICTURES Jessica Wright and the TOWIE cast dress up to film live TV show in Essex

SEE PICTURES Peter Andre enjoys night out in London with Jessica Wright and the TOWIE cast

Anna Duff