SINGAPORE: Three drugs, which are being used as ecstasy substitutes abroad and have been reported to kill, will be banned in Singapore from Monday, said the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB).
The drugs are BZP (1-benzylpiperazine), TFMPP (1-3-trifluoromethylphenyl piperazine) and mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone).
They will be considered Class A drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act because of their potential for abuse.
CNB said on Friday that there have been reported cases of deaths related to the abuse of these drugs in other countries.
BZP and TFMPP are controlled substances in Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Mephedrone is a controlled drug in Denmark, China, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.
CNB said the control of the three drugs here is a pre-emptive measure.
It said there was no feedback that the abuse of these drugs was picking up or was rampant in Singapore.
It said consultations with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore, Health Sciences Authority, Institute of Mental Health and Ministry of Health confirm that there was no known legitimate use for these drugs in industry, research or medicine.
In February, MediaCorp broke the story on mephedrone.
BZP & TFMPP come under the piperazine family and both "party pills" produce stimulant and hallucinatory effects.
CNB said one component of the piperazine family is found in products sold legally in pet shops here to de-worm dogs.
BZP is a stimulant that produces euphoria and cardiovascular effects. The National Drug Intelligence Centre in the US said it is abused by teenagers and adults there.
In March 2007, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in the UK warned that selling BZP pills was illegal.
It said BZP can result in agitation, vomiting, abdominal pain, seizures, abnormal heart rhythms, and fever. It can cause insomnia, anxiety, nausea and vomiting, muscle aches and psychosis.
Mephedrone is sold as plant food or fertilizer. When mephedrone is produced in the form of a white or off-white powder, it closely resembles heroin and cocaine.
Its street names include "bubbles", "mcat", "snow" and "meow".
It is derived from cathinone, which is a Class A controlled drug. Mephedrone abuse is known to cause cravings and dependence.
In January, the BBC reported how the new drug was being abused by party-goers causing excess sweating, headaches, heart palpitations and nausea.
Subsequently in June, Sky News secretly filmed the drug being made in a China factory.
From Monday, anyone convicted of using the three drugs can be jailed up to 10 years, fined S$20,000 or both.
Traffickers can be jailed between five and 20 years and given between five and 15 strokes of the cane.
By Andre Yeo, Hetty Musfirah
Posted: 12 November 2010