Anger after party tablets given to kids

By Thirdedge · Jan 17, 2007 · ·
  1. Thirdedge
    By Sandra Conchie

    Two Bay parents are "shocked and disgusted" their children were given what they believe are essentially party pills as their prize in a radio station beach competition.

    Oropi parent Malcolm Hanson said he was "shocked" when his 12-year-old son came back from the Mount's Main Beach recently with a packet of five Zzaapp energy lozenges.

    They had been handed out during a ZM 89.8 ping pong drop competition and his son had already taken one.

    "I just couldn't believe it. I was so disgusted, it's so morally wrong to give children pills of any kind," Mr Hanson said.

    Zzaapp, described on the packet as energy lozenges which will "super charge your energy levels" and "give you a zzaapp for a week", the BZP-free lozenge is promoted on the maker's website as a safer alternative to a chemical cocktail.

    "One of the most popular uses is to pep yourself up for a party. It's not a party pill, it's better," its website says.

    The Bay of Plenty Times has also discovered at least one online shopping site lists Zzaapp among a list of legal alternatives to amphetamines, P and speed.

    Mr Hanson said there were children as young as five walking away with Zzaapp packets from the January 6 competition.

    Mr Hanson complained to the Bay Times after subsequently seeing a billboard outside an adult shop the words: "Zzaapp, the new BZP-free party pill."

    Mr Hanson said the pills may be legal and a harmless energy booster for adults but there was no recommended dosage for children listed on the pack.

    No one should be handing out any pills to minors without parents' permission, as people don't know the child's background or medical condition, he said.

    "My son only took one because it had a disgusting taste."

    While his son didn't experience any effects after taking the pill, that wasn't the point, Mr Hanson said.

    "As a parent, it's hard enough to guide youngsters away from dabbling in party pills or drugs and other temptations without someone handing out pills of any kind to children like they were lollies.

    "Even if they are legal and safe it desensitises youngsters to the potential risks and says it's okay to take pills from strangers."

    Mount Maunganui parent Bern Orr, whose 14-year-old diabetic son was given two packets of Zzaapp as his prize in the ping-pong drop, agreed.

    "It's morally wrong to give any youngster a bunch of pills without parental permission," he said.

    "Fortunately my son is mature enough to have not taken any without talking to me first, but children as young as five wouldn't be and I would suggest some children may become hyped up from taking them."

    Mr Hanson said he had raised the issue with Tauranga City Council and police but they said because the pills were legal there was nothing they could do.

    Radio Network promotions manager Louise Dean said ZM 89.8 partnered with Zzaapp for the ping-pong drop which was open to anyone aged 15 or over.

    Ms Dean said Zzaapp, who supplied the prizes, was also the one handing out the prizes and as far as she saw, no child was walking away with the lozenges.

    Company owner Brett Elliot, of Tauranga, said he was not too concerned younger children had received the free handouts.

    "They are suitable for all ages and there is no chemical product in them that can cause anybody any harm," he said.

    Mr Elliot, a medical herbalist who developed the pills, said that a person would have to take more than the recommended maximum dose before feeling any negative effects.

    He said Zzaapp were "absolutely not" party pills and that the reason the product had been advertised as "better than party pills" was to provide people with an alternative to products containing BZP.

    BZP or benzylpiperazine is the party pill substance which taken in high doses can create the same effect as taking amphetamines.

    "There have been a lot of bad results with products containing BZP. Our whole approach is to offer people an alternative approach which is healthy. They are lozenges, they're not actually pills as such. We didn't actually class them as pills because you are stepping into another product category," he said.

    Tauranga police Senior Sergeant Wayne Mills said regulations were fairly lax and while Zzaapps might be legal it was quite concerning that someone had given "those sort of tablets out as a prize, even to a 15-year-old". He questioned the ethics of dispensing lozenges on a beach.

    - with Carly Udy and Joel Ford


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  1. darawk
    I honestly believe people like this do not deserve to live.
  2. Bajeda
    I honestly believe he was absolutely correct.

    Besides the parents of a child no one should be giving pills or drugs to kids. The parents should take it upon themselves to know exactly what they are giving their kid and keep their childrens' safety in mind.

    There are so many things out there that aren't researched enough. If I was a parent I would only trust myself or my spouse completely when it comes to giving my kids any drug, whether its medicinal, recreational, or simply crap.

    Whatever Mr. Hanson's attitude towards drugs is, at least he knows to protect his children, which is more than alot of parents in the US who let doctors greedily prescribe adderall to anything that moves can say.
  3. darawk
    I'm not saying this station was right to give out these pills, i'm saying that he is an idiot for using the words "immoral" to describe doing anything with "pills". Pills are just a vehicle. Someone who makes such egregiously inaccurate generalizations is too stupid to waste oxygen on.
  4. Bajeda
    I agree that "immoral" isn't the best word to use. Still, I think Mr. Hanson has more common sense than alot of people in the US especially.
  5. Senor Gribson
    most people would know enough not to give a child caffeine pills, let alone high-strength energy pills with who-knows-what in them. what were these contest promoters thinking?
  6. Nagognog2
    One method to use to register one's minor displeasure with this radio station (which I did to one station on a different matter - they were gone within a week) is to find all their advertisers. Then, as a concerned-parent, call each advertiser and ask them if they know they are, in effect, financially bankrolling an organization that advocates giving psychoactive drugs to little kids. Then get some popcorn and watch the FOR SALE sign go up on the station.
  7. Thirdedge
    The tablets in question contain only Ginkgo, Ginseng, Barley grass and Niacin, so are a far cry from your standard NZ Piperazine cocktail - Not so diffrent to a can of Red Bull really.
    I think many people are in hysterics because they simply don,t understand the diffrence. Piperazines were originally marketed as healty herbal extracts in NZ, many people still believe this.
  8. painfully_lost
    The parent (M.Hanson) should take some responsibility for the actions of their child.

    My children know better than to put any kind of pill or even food given to them from a stranger into their mouth.

    Once again, the parent blaming everyone else for their own bad parenting.
  9. Riconoen {UGC}
    The parent should be shot in the back of the head for bieng a complete dipshit. It's red bull in a pill for fucks sake. If it were energy drinks they gave them as prizes I'm sure the parents reaction would have been completely different.
  10. Creeping Death
    Big deal the pills are not even illegal.
  11. brown_thing
    he is a retard but to be fair have you ever seen a 5 year old hyper on sugar let alone a caffine pill, M.Hanson won't of slept in a week that's probably why he's so pissed.
  12. Riconoen {UGC}
    I've seen plently of young kids who drank too much soda at birthday parties and it's the most annoying thing ever.
  13. stoneinfocus
    Comem on, Ginseng and ginko might be dangerous when it comes to surgery and anaesthesie, but its´far from the stimulanting effect od a caffeinated drink or pill.

    So what about Haribos in pillform with "dangerous" licorice?

    Btw, could someone please enlight me wtf BZP is? -a pierazin derivative?
  14. Alfa
    Seems like someone throws a placebo pill on the market. Then what's the use? There's surely no sense giving placebo herbal highs to children. No matter wether they work or not.

    It's hard to see the true story here, as the media often do not know what they are talking about or simply blow things out of proportion to get news out of it.
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