DOCTORS are warning of the dangers of a new line of party drugs being hyped as "legal ecstasy".
The Australian distributor of the drugs, Mark Reed, said they were gaining enormous popularity on the social scene.
The drugs contain herbal and caffeine extracts that are supposed to give users a non-addictive, speed-like kick.
Created by New Zealand company Lightyears, the pills can be bought online or from the Fremantle Markets.
One called Diablo is supposed to offer an ``elevated sensory, tingly, euphoric high''. Others called Librex and Hummers are supposed to cause andrenalin rushes and increase sex drive. The drugs can cost up to $120 for a pack of 20.
A Facebook group dedicated to promoting the party pills in WA says they offer ``a safer way to explore your inner-space''.
But one group member said they left her boyfriend in an amphetamine-like state.
``My partner had two Diablos and was rocking, chewing his bottom lip like he was on speed and very hyped,'' she said.
A 24-year-old Perth woman told The Sunday Times that people were touting the drugs as ``legal ecstasy''. She said after taking a Diablo she was left extremely dehydrated.
National Drug Research Institute president Steve Allsop was concerned the drugs could easily end up in the hands of children.
Dr Allsop warned also that the effect of the drugs had not been properly researched.
``We know nothing about the risks of taking these tablets,'' he said. ``Just because they are supposed to be organic doesn't mean they are completely safe.''
Public Health Association national president Mike Daube said any suggested impact of the pills was pure speculation. Mr Daube feared they could lead people to start using harder drugs.
But Mr Reed said the party pills were a safe alternative to illicit drugs.
``The whole idea is that you're not putting poison into your body,'' Mr Reed said. ``Everything that is in them has been cleared and comes under the supplements list. They are cheaper and smarter than illicit drugs.''
Mr Reed said there were a number of strict conditions that customers were expected to meet, including being over 18.
Two journalists from The Sunday Times tried a Hummer tablet. Here's what they thought:
Age: 23 Weight: 82kg
``The feeling is similar to having one too many coffees or taking a No-Doz tablet.
I mixed it with a few beers and got a little jittery, but comparisons to ecstasy or speed would be an exaggeration.
It causes dehydration. I think people could easily go from taking these pills to trying something heavier for a greater kick.
People might also feel that because they are legal they can't do any harm, and might take a few more than they should to get a more intense hit.''
Age: 27 Weight: 50kg
``I think the best way to describe it is that it gives you a real buzz. I think it is a lot stronger than having a few Red Bulls.
I started feeling normal after about two hours, but was wide awake and struggled to sleep.
My main concern with it would be dehydration. Another concern is you tend to let your guard down. For example, if I had a few drinks, there is no way I would get behind the wheel. Because these are legal, I felt there was nothing wrong with driving, even though they recommend you don't drive.''
Anthony Deceglie and Raquel De Brito
August 1, 2009
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