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[h3]About this article[/h3]
This article appeared in the Guardian on Tuesday March 04 2008 on p8 of the UK news section. It was last updated at 09:07 on March 04 2008.
BZP, a psychoactive stimulant promoted as a legal alternative to ecstasy and amphetamines, is to be banned in Britain.
The government's advisory committee on the misuse of drugs will today begin the process of making it a controlled substance, following a recommendation from the European Union. It is likely to become a class C drug before the end of the year.
BZP was once almost marketed as an antidepressant until its similarity to amphetamines was noted. It has been associated with vomiting, anxiety, insomnia, mood swings and seizures. It is already a controlled drug in eight EU countries.
The EU action is binding and requires all EU member states to take legal action within a year.
There has been no direct evidence of BZP causing death, although it has been linked to several fatalities in the UK.