The European Union is considering banning the sale and criminalising
possession of the stimulant and recreational drug benzylpiperazine (BZP), the use of which
poses a serious health risk, EU officials said Tuesday.
So-called “party pills” sould at bottle stores in South Africa contain BZP. They are sold under names like “Push,” “Charge”, “Red Hearts” and “Ice Diamonds”.
At present the sale and possession of such pills in South Africa are not regulated.
Strict controls recommended
Officials have asked EU governments to impose strict control measures to
prohibit the sale of BZP across the 27-nation block within
the coming months, following an expert risk assessment carried out by
the union's drug monitoring centre.
"The risk assessment which we have conducted indicates that this BZP
drug, which is a central nervous system stimulant, has created
reactions which we indeed would call very disturbing, worrying and
dangerous," said EU spokesman Friso Roscam Abbing.
Officials said the drug was similar to the popular recreational drug
ecstasy and was being sold as tablets and capsules either over the
internet or at dance clubs and raves. However, BZP users can suffer more
severe medical side effects than those related to using ecstasy, EU
May trigger seizures
They said that while the drug aims to offer heightened sensitivity,
it can lead to hyperactivity and seizures - even for those who have no
previous history of seizures.
Other side effects include nausea, anxiety, severe mood swings,
confusion and irritability, which can last for up to 24 hours after
taking the drug.
The drug is mainly manufactured in India and has found its way into
13 EU nations already, including France, Britain, Germany, the
Netherlands, Sweden and Spain. Its use is expected to rise in the
years ahead, EU officials said.
Restrictive measures against BZP have already been taken in seven EU
nations - the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Malta, Sweden and
Officials said they were unsure of how widespread the circulation of
BZP was in the EU currently, but said British police recently seized
60 000 pills which had been shipped to the country from India. – (Sapa-AP/Health24)
Few thrills with party pills