18 July 2007

EU to ban party pills?

The EU is considering banning the use and possession of party pills containing BZP, the use of which officials say poses a serious health risk.

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 officials warned.

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 Spain.

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)

Read more:
Few thrills with party pills

July 2007


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