Party pill casualties down 50%

Discussion in 'Research Chemicals' started by Thirdedge, Sep 28, 2006.

  1. Thirdedge

    Thirdedge Gold Member

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    Oct 25, 2005
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    Party pill casualties down 50%
    27 September 2006

    The number of party-pill users going to Christchurch Hospital's emergency department has halved in the past year.

    Doctors are seeing just two patients a week, compared with a high of six a week at this time last year, and the number arriving with seizures and blackouts has also dropped.

    Emergency medicine specialist Dr Paul Gee said that while numbers were down, the department was still seeing patients as young as 14 with overdose symptoms.

    In one case, a two-year-old had consumed his mother's supply of party pills.

    "I think (the numbers have dropped) because people realise that it can be dangerous and are using it a bit more cautiously," Gee said.

    "Also, most people who want to try, have, and as (the Massey University) study shows, more than half don't like the experience and will stop.

    "In fact, most who use are of the opinion that BZP should be banned."

    Party pills, marketed as herbal but containing the drug benzylpiperazine (BZP), leave many users feeling agitated, dehydrated and strung out.

    The pills caught the headlines two years ago after several overdoses prompted medical professionals to speak out. The drug is banned in the United States.

    Gee said the fall in the number of Christchurch patients may be a reflection that the herbal-high craze has passed. His comments are backed by a study released this year by Massey University's Centre for Social and Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation that showed one in five young people had tried the pills and 50 per cent said they would not try them again.

    The Government last year created a class D classification for BZP-based pills and restricted their sale to people aged over 18, but Gee said this was not behind the drop in patient numbers.

    The Government had commissioned three studies into the pills, and Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton said he would not make a decision on whether to ban them until the results were in.

    Mairead Harnett, a researcher with the National Poisons Centre in Dunedin, said staff were just finishing a study of the known BZP poisoning cases treated at hospitals in the past three years. "We are focusing on dose, symptoms and the medical management," Harnett said.

    "Our ultimate aim is to be able to provide more accurate and comprehensive poisoning management advice to the public and hospitals."

    Over a two-year period, the centre had about 180 calls and at least 120 suspected cases of poisoning.