Discussion in 'Research Chemicals' started by Alfa, Mar 6, 2004.

  1. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

    Reputation Points:
    Jan 14, 2003
    117 y/o from The Netherlands

    Police urge party pill ban

    Alarming side effects from legal party pills landed five young people in
    Dunedin Hospital at the weekend, leaving police and health officials
    concerned at the apparent increasing popularity and accessibility of the

    The pills, named Charge, Rapture, Blast, Exodus and Frenzy, contain
    benzylpiperazine (BZP) and trifluromethylphenylpiperazine (TFMPP). It is
    illegal to possess these chemicals, or any pills which contain the
    chemicals, in the United States and some parts of Australia.

    However, the chemicals are not restricted in New Zealand and the pills,
    which are claimed to have a similar effect on users as ecstasy or P, are
    readily available at outlets in Dunedin, including bars, clothing stores,
    music shops and retailers servicing street culture.

    The pills, which are labelled as dietary supplements, cost $40 for six
    tablets of Charge when purchased by an Otago Daily Times staff member this
    week from Cosmic.Three Rapture tablets were supplied
    free as part of the transaction.

    The labels state the party pills are a legal alternative to amphetamines and
    ecstasy and promise to make the user feel "alive, energised and able to
    dance the night away".

    While inquiries reveal such "energy pills" have been available for about two
    years, last weekend's incidents appear to be the first in which the hospital
    and police have been involved.

    Sergeant Kelvin Lloyd, of Dunedin, said police were contacted by hospital
    staff this week, concerned at the number of patients suffering from side
    effects, which included heart palpitations and an increase in blood pressure
    and body temperature.

    In extreme cases, the piperazines produced hallucinations, convulsions and
    respiratory depression.

    "This is news for us and we have spent the past couple of days researching
    the drug and its effects," Sgt Lloyd said.

    "What we have found out is that it does appear to be legal in New Zealand
    and seems readily available."

    This was a concern, he said.

    The Poison Centre in Dunedin confirmed yesterday it had received several
    calls from Otago medical practitioners in the past two weeks wanting more
    information on the pills, after having patients suffering from the side

    Dunedin Hospital emergency department consultant Dr Alan Forrester said,
    like any drug, if not taken correctly or in incorrect quantities, the party
    pills could prove fatal.

    "The symptoms presented to us at the weekend were agitation, feeling like
    their heart was racing, sweatiness and anxiety.

    "In one case, concerns were such that the person was admitted."

    Hospital staff had been briefed this week about the pills and their side
    effects in case last weekend was a "sign of things to come".

    "It's obviously becoming more popular and some places are even advertising
    it so I wouldn't be surprised if this is not a one-off for us," Dr Forrester

    It is understood the five people treated at Dunedin Hospital at the weekend
    were all students and had taken either Charge or Rapture 12-18 hours

    They had overdosed on the pill and, while four of the people to seek help
    were treated and discharged within hours, one male was admitted and kept in

    Sgt Lloyd said he had referred the information to his superiors.

    "In situations like this, we have to take our lead from other countries. We
    have a substance which has been classified in America because of its effects
    on people and it has now led to five people needing hospital attention in
    one weekend here.

    "While I can't do this myself - it will have to come from higher up - I
    would suggest legislative action may be necessary."

    The head of the United States Department of Justice drug enforcement
    administration, based in Washington DC, yesterday said, when approached,
    that BZP and TFMPP became "substances of concern" in 2000. By September
    2002, they were put under the Controlled Substances Act and anyone found
    with the drug faced the same penalties as those found with ecstasy.

    The New Zealand Customs Department tabled a paper on piperazines at a
    Ministry of Health committee meeting in June last year. It had noticed an
    increase in importations of the substances and asked for more information

    from other agencies regarding the need to control them.
  2. Gerard

    Gerard Newbie

    Reputation Points:
    Feb 7, 2004
    What a crock of shit! People end up in hospital from drinking too much alcohol all the time too but i dont see them banning that!
  3. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

    Reputation Points:
    Jan 14, 2003
    117 y/o from The Netherlands

    Party pills derived from pepper plants could be made illegal if an expert
    committee meeting on Friday decides they are dangerous.

    The "herbal highs" under investigation by the independent Expert Advisory
    Committee on Drugs, a heavyweight group of police, Customs, health and drug
    experts, are legal and their use is soaring. All are central nervous system
    stimulants that cause an adrenalin-type rush.

    The widely sold pills go by names such as Nemi, Charge, Euphoria, Rapture,
    Blast, Exodus and Frenzy.

    A dose - which can be more than one pill - costs about $40. Some, such as
    Exodus, are sold with an R18 warning and most warn against mixing with alcohol.

    They contain benzylpiperazine and trifluromethylphenylpiperazine,
    substances derived from pepper plants which can also be produced
    synthetically, says Dr Bob Boyd, the chairman of the advisory committee and
    the Food Standards Australia-New Zealand Authority chief medical adviser.
    Pills with these pepper-derived chemicals have been illegal in the United
    States since 2002 and are illegal in two Australian states.

    Five young people were taken to hospital in Dunedin this month, apparently
    after overdosing on party pills. Side-effects include heart palpitations,
    increased blood pressure and increased body temperature. In extreme cases,
    piperazines can cause hallucinations and convulsions.

    The head of the police national drug intelligence bureau, Detective
    Inspector Gary Knowles, a member of the committee, has been quoted as
    saying that it is of "grave concern to me that these pills are being
    labelled as a natural high, when people taking them have no way of really
    knowing what's in them and what they could do to them".

    He adds that police have their "radar focused on the drug".

    Customs official Jules Lovelock says that border staff note increased
    commercial importation of piperazines, and say some are marketed as legal
    substitutes for class A and B drugs.

    The advisory committee provides expert advice to the Associate Minister of
    Health, Jim Anderton, who then decides whether to recommend to the
    Governor-General that a substance be classified.

    If he does, the issue goes to the Cabinet, a select committee and Parliament.

    Dr Boyd says the meeting this week will also investigate reclassifying
    amphetamine on the Misuse of Drugs Act schedule that classifies illicit drugs.

    Dance-floor view: Rather these than P


    Manufacturers and distributors of pepper-related party pills are against a
    ban, saying their products are safe and fulfil a need.

    Some P-using customers have been switching to herbal highs, says a director
    of Velocity Distribution on Auckland's North Shore, the company which
    distributes the New Zealand-made Euphoria.

    A manager of the Frenzy and Exodus wholesaler, Elixir Technologies, says
    the pills pose "little risk to society and that's the thing people have to
    bear in mind. There's been more than a million doses sold in this country -
    we've done at least half a million of them - and no one's died."


    A frequent party-goer who takes Nemi and Euphoria so he can dance all night
    says the pepper-based capsules are not a public health issue.

    "If you take the stuff off the market, you're going to change the nature of
    the purchase from legal to illegal," said the Aucklander.

    "And you might increase the desire for Ecstasy, which is expensive, illegal

    and of dubious quality, or worse, to P."
  4. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

    Reputation Points:
    Jan 14, 2003
    117 y/o from The Netherlands

    Over-the-counter herbal highs and party pills currently under the
    scrutiny of the Government are not as dangerous or addictive as
    illicit substances, a Victoria University psychology lecturer says.

    The legal highs, presently being sold as dietary supplements, will be
    subject to stricter regulations if the third amendment to the Misuse
    of Drugs Act is passed.

    Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton says he is drafting a
    supplementary order paper to the amendment that will give State
    agencies increased capacity to monitor the distribution of herbal
    highs and other unclassified substances.

    "The purpose of the new schedule will be to enable regulations to be
    made to protect young New Zealanders in particular against the sale of
    legal substances, which are subject to abuse but do not warrant, on
    current evidence, regulation under the current risk classes A, B or C
    drug classifications."

    Victoria University psychology lecturer Dr Johan Lauwereyns says the
    party pills are approximately 200 times less likely to activate
    dopamine, the brain's happy chemical, in the consumer's head than
    illicit drugs.

    He says at this lower level the chemical makes the person feel good
    but does not create cravings.

    "They do (herbal highs) activate dopamine in the brain indirectly but
    they do not have the addictive quality illicit substances such as
    cocaine have.

    "As far as over-the-counter substances go, alcohol is definitely a
    much more dangerous drug." The predominant drug used in the "legal
    highs", such as Rapture, Zoom and Charge, is benzylpiperazine (BZP).

    In April this year the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD)
    reported to the Minister of Health there was insufficient information
    to recommend BZP and related substances be classified in the Misuse of
    Drugs Act (1975).

    BZP is illegal in the United States of America and in some states of
    Australia, however, the EACD report states there are very few health
    risks or psychological risks associated with consumption of the drug.

    The drugs produce a euphoric, highly vigilant state and are marketed
    as an alternative to the illegal party drugs ecstasy and speed.

    Wellington retailer Cosmic Corner sells the "herbal highs" 24 hours a
    day during the weekend, through a vending window manned by a staff
    member after hours.

    Cosmic Corner Wellington manager Iain Hickling says he is concerned
    the drugs are now being stocked in dairies and bars because the
    consumers are much less likely to get an
    y quality advice on how they
    can use them in a safe manner.

    He says as a member of the Social Tonics Association of New Zealand
    (STANZ), an organisation that represents the industry in monitoring
    sales of the energy enhancers, Cosmic Corner supports the new

    "We are definitely supportive of some sort of regulation on where and
    who they can be sold to.we have always felt that as an industry we
    have a moral responsibility to regulate packaging and marketing."

    Mr Anderton's proposed new schedule will enable restrictions to be
    placed on the sale of party pills such as age limits for purchase and
    further regulations for the supply, marketing and labelling of the

    The new schedule, expected to be decided on this year, will not be
    confined to BZP but will include regulative guidelines for other legal
    substances that are abused such as solvents.
  5. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

    Reputation Points:
    Jan 14, 2003
    117 y/o from The Netherlands

    Health officials say they are powerless to force retailers to label the ingredients in herbal party pills because they fall through a classification crack.

    The party pills, which contain benzylpiperazine, are neither classified as a drug nor as a dietary supplement so there is no requirement for them to be labelled.

    "We can only do something about these drugs when they become recognised as such," Canterbury's medical officer of health, Dr Alistair Humphrey, said.

    A select committee is considering a proposal by Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton to add a new classification for a D controlled drug which would include party pills.

    "We need a new classification for drugs that may require age and sale restrictions. Nothing can be done in the meantime. We don't have the legislative framework to deal with it," Anderton said.

    Christchurch Hospital's emergency department started recording information about party pill admissions last Thursday as part of a nationwide effort to learn more about the drugs.

    The initiative, co-ordinated by Dr John Fountain at Otago University's National Poisons Centre and supported in Christchurch through the Emergency Care Foundation, will contribute to research that will enable drug enforcement agencies to set rules around the labelling and use of party pills.

    Fountain, a medical toxicologist, said informed labelling would be a step in the right direction, though verifying that the label corresponded with the ingredients would be difficult.

    "You can put something on the label but you still don't know what's in the bottle," he said.

    "The difficulty about these sorts of compounds is that there is no study on the adverse effects. The dangers inherent in this are not being communicated to users."

    Christchurch Hospital emergency department consultant specialist Martin Than said the number of admissions for party pill abuse at the department had been sporadic, peaking at about six in a weekend.

    People were less cautious because of the commonly used "herbal" label, when in fact, herbal party pills were synthetic compounds.

    Than said more research into the effects of pills was required. "I've got nothing against people taking them but we lack essential information about them. We have no idea what the effect of them is on people who drive. They should be subject to the same stringent tests (as pharmaceuticals)."

    Humphrey said the answer was getting the pills classed as drugs rather than dietary supplements.


    The active drug in the pills, commonly known as herbal ecstasy or herbal speed, is benzylpiperazine.

    It typically causes euphoria, but can result in agitation, vomiting, abdominal pain, seizures and abnormal heart rhythms.

    In rare cases, users may suffer from serotonin syndrome, which can cause death.

    The street names it is sold under include A2, Blizzard, Herbal E, Purple Pills, White Butterfly, C4, Herbal Ecstasy, Jump, Triple Crown, Zoom, Euphoria, Green Fly, Herbal Speed, Purple Frenzy, Shotgun, Viper, Jax, Sweet Tarts and Wannabe.
  6. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

    Reputation Points:
    Jan 14, 2003
    117 y/o from The Netherlands

    A turf war in the world of legal drugs has erupted and health and industry experts warn young party-goers are getting caught in the crossfire - and ending up in hospital.

    The Drug Foundation said today competition between Christchurch manufacturers had resulted in party pills or herbal highs being sold by shops in unmarked clear plastic bags.

    It was a dangerous practice, foundation executive director Ross Bell said.

    "People might not know what they are taking and might not know the recommended dose," he told NZPA.

    Mr Bell said there was "hysteria" from some Christchurch doctors who said young people were ending up in hospital emergency departments after becoming ill on the pills.

    The predominant ingredient in party pills is benzylpiperazine (BZP) which is derived from the pepper plant and legal in New Zealand.

    It is estimated that 5 million party pills have been sold in New Zealand since 2000.

    The Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs has recommended BZP remain legal but a new category, or Class D, be added to the Misuse of Drugs Act to control marketing and restrict sale to people over 18 years - something supported by the Drug Foundation and industry group Social Tonic Association of New Zealand (Stanz).

    BZP was also an ingredient used in farm animal worming tablets, Mr Bell said.

    People could take BZP safety by ensuring they took the recommended dose, did not drink alcohol with them and drank plenty of water, he said.

    The pills were regulated under the dietary supplements regulations which required them to be labelled with ingredients and doses.

    "We think the Christchurch City Council who are responsible for those regulations and the Medical Officer of Health need to do something about some of these dodgy practices," Mr Bell said.

    Stanz spokesman Matt Bowden said Auckland Hospital saw about one BZP-user a month who was usually sent home without requiring treatment but there had been a recent cluster of hospital admissions in Christchurch.

    "All of a sudden we see Christchurch Hospital saying they are seeing six people a week," he said.

    "It would appear that a lot more active material is being put in each capsule there, so people who are expecting to take normal dose pills are taking something which is a much higher dose."

    The majority of manufacturers took a responsible approach to the marketing of the products, he said.

    "People should pay attention to the labelling and see how much BZP is in the product. If there's no labelling, they should avoid it."

    Stanz would like to see public health officials do something to enforce the labelling of party pills, Mr Bowden said.

    However, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Alistair Humphrey said today it was not up to the medical officer of health or the city council to enforce the labelling of the pills.

    "There is no legislation; it is not a controlled medicine," he told NZPA.

    If the pills were sold as a nutritional supplement they could be regulated by the Food Safety Authority.

    "But Food Safety have great difficulties doing anything about it because they don't know what's in these bags."

    Canterbury was working with other medical officers of health throughout New Zealand who had experience the same problems, Dr Humphrey said.

    "But possibly not at the same level."

    It took too long for drugs to be listed as controlled and "drug designers" moved quickly onto other unlisted products, he said.

    Parliament's health select committee is currently considering a call by Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton to criminalise BZP.

    Dr Humphrey said the effects of BZP were unknown as people who came to hospital after taking party pills had often drunk a lot of alcohol and taken illegal drugs which they did not admit to.

    "We need to identify exactly the harm these things are causing because if we're not sure, we may be barking up the wrong tree," he said.

    "There may be other things on the street causing similar problems, not least of which is alcohol which remains our number one problem."
  7. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

    Reputation Points:
    Jan 14, 2003
    117 y/o from The Netherlands

    The Days Of Teenagers Freely Popping Party Pills And The Industry's Ability To Mass Market Them May Be Numbered.

    A Parliament health select committee is to decide whether the sale of legal party pills should be restricted.

    It will meet over the next three weeks and a recommendation is expected to go to Parliament next month.

    The Waikato Times reported on Saturday that Waikato Hospital was treating one person a week for pill overdoses.

    The chairman of industry group Social Tonics of New Zealand, Matt Bowden, said while there was no conclusive evidence of ill-effects, sale should be controlled by legislation.

    With proper labelling and regulation the number of people treated for party-pill related ailments would be minimised, he said.

    Retailers say they now voluntarily sell the pills only to people over 18.

    There is likely to be scrutiny of safety and labelling rules.

    Drugs containing benzylpiperazine (BZP) - like Euphoria, Jax, Bolts, Jump and Rapture - are sold as dietary supplements, a classification opposed by manufacturers.

    Mr Bowden said the biggest problem was that people used BZP with alcohol and illicit drugs.

    "I think that if we move away from alcohol and illegal drugs the number of adverse effects we see from these products will decrease because we will have strict quality controls in place."

    BZP has been banned in America and two states in Australia.

    However, an expert advisory committee last year decided there was no objective grounds on which to ban them here.

    The health select committee is now considering an addition to the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill (No 3).

    This could see party pills put into a new classification of drugs, less harmful than Class C drugs or drugs of moderate risk.

    The National Poisons Centre in Dunedin is applying for ethical approval to research the effects of BZP.
  8. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

    Reputation Points:
    Jan 14, 2003
    117 y/o from The Netherlands

    Moves to restrict the sale of herbal highs or party pills to people over the age of 18 have been welcomed by drug experts, retailers and social interest groups.

    The new laws - an amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act put forward by Progressives leader Jim Anderton yesterday - also places controls on marketing and labelling of the products.

    The predominant ingredient in the pills is benzylpiperazine (BZP) which is derived from the pepper plant and is legal here.

    It is estimated that 5 million party pills have been sold in New Zealand since 2000.

    The Drug Foundation said it had major concerns about the legal status of BZP.

    The chemical and related substances were left unregulated after the Food Safety Authority declared they weren't a dietary supplement, foundation executive director Ross Bell said.

    "The result is that at the moment, BZP could be made in insanitary conditions, mixed with contaminants, or sold to children," he told Parliament's health select committee.

    The amendment will control party pills through the addition of a fourth category or Class D to the current drug schedule.

    The committee is also considering whether to add other abused substances such as inhalants to the category.

    The amendment was also welcomed by the Retailers Association, which said it did not question the need for adequate safeguards against the misuse of drugs.

    But individuals were responsible for determining whether a substance should be bought and used for a particular purpose, spokesman Barry Hellberg said.

    The National Council of Women said there would always be a conflict of rights when balancing the freedom of expression with the possibility of harm to others.

    Protecting the vulnerable was important, even if it curtailed others'

    freedom said president Christine Low.

    - NZPA
  9. ~lostgurl~

    ~lostgurl~ Platinum Member & Advisor Donating Member

    Reputation Points:
    Dec 23, 2004
    from Australia
    Restraints on party pills delayed


    A bill placing age restrictions on the sale of legal highs, such as party pills, may be delayed despite widespread calls for its swift introduction.

    The Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill (No 3), which will create a new R18 category of Class D drugs, is being considered by Parliament's health select committee.
    If approved, products such as party pills and NOS (nitrous oxide canisters), will be classified as Class D, which will limit their sale to people 18 years and over, regulate where they can be sold and how they are marketed and labelled.

    The select committee was scheduled to report next Tuesday, but has requested a postponement until May 19.

    Committee chairwoman Steve Chadwick said the proposed amendments were complex and they needed more time to draft legislation which would fit a legal substance into a framework for illegal substances.

    The Class D option was proposed by the Government's 10-member Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs in April 2004.

    Party pills, often incorrectly described as herbal highs, are pills based on the synthetic piperazine compounds BZP and TFMPP, which mimic the effects of illicit drugs such as amphetamines and Ecstasy. Supporters say the pills are non-addictive and lessen the demand for illegal stimulants.

    The party pill industry has developed swiftly since Nemesis, this country's first party pill, was released five years ago. There are now about 20 major providers who collectively earn an estimated $24 million annually.

    As the pills are not covered by food and medicine laws, the only regulations governing the producers and retailers come from a voluntary code developed by industry lobby group the Social Tonics Association of New Zealand (STANZ).

    But the association supports the shift to Government regulation to stem the rise of backyard operators who indiscriminately sell low-quality, unlabelled pills containing more than 250mg of BZP, more than three times the standard dose of 70mg to 80mg.

    Gangs have also entered the market, selling off bags of cheap, pure BZP, known as hummer.

    Over the past week, Christchurch residents have periodically picketed Weirdos, a store specialising in legal highs, which they claim is targeting school students.

    Christchurch City councillor Bob Shearing is among those supporting the proposed bill.

    He was unable to identify negative impacts from the taking of legal highs, but said there were objections to the youths assembling outside the store and the litter left on the streets.
    Last edited: May 21, 2006
  10. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

    Reputation Points:
    Jan 14, 2003
    117 y/o from The Netherlands
    Wow! This seems as they are going to regulate sales of these Research Chemicals. They are not banning. Very good.
  11. HippieD9

    HippieD9 Gold Member

    Reputation Points:
    Dec 12, 2004
    from U.S.A.
    I say the same, what's the problem with age limitations? Sounds like a good idea to me


  12. PenguinPhreak

    PenguinPhreak Newbie

    Reputation Points:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Finally a rational way of controling drugs. Hopefully this will become common practice rather than banning substances.
    Edited by: PenguinPhreak
  13. ~lostgurl~

    ~lostgurl~ Platinum Member & Advisor Donating Member

    Reputation Points:
    Dec 23, 2004
    from Australia
    Mayors urge ban on herbal highs
    SUNDAY , 10 APRIL 2005


    Several mayors want herbal party pills banned, saying the increasingly popular legal highs are unwelcome in their towns.

    Grey District mayor Tony Kokshoorn is leading the lobbying effort to tell the government the pills are a menace in their communities.

    Last month he wrote to all mayors asking them to back his proposed ban. He said most supported him.

    "We are lifting the bar in so many areas of society, but for some reason we are lowering it for the sale of these things.

    "It doesn't make sense."

    Created as a safe alternative to ecstasy, party pills have become mainstream and are now sold in dairies, service stations and bottle stores.

    Last year the country's expert advisory committee on drugs ruled benzylpiperazine (BZP) – the active ingredient in the pills – did not pose a significant enough risk to be classified as a Class A, B or C controlled drug.

    The committee recommended placing some controls on the drug to stop it being sold to under-18s.

    The BZP ruling has done little to stop growing public opposition to the pills and those who sell them.

    In Christchurch, two communities are protesting against the presence of shops selling the pills and the gas nitrous oxide.

    The protests include:

    >Regular picketing by angry parents in the suburb of Hornby where Weirdos Funk Store has been the subject of public meetings to close it.

    >A letterbox drop in New Brighton last week calling for residents to support action to close Herbal Heaven. The shop is across the road from a primary school and next to a church that runs an after-school programme.

    Some Christchurch city councilors have publicly discussed drafting a new bylaw to regulate where shops selling the pills can operate.

    Kokshoorn said parents throughout the country were worried about the availability of the pills.

    "Why do we need to put this kind of distraction in front of our children?" he said.

    To meet concerns over party pills, the majority of manufacturers formed the Social Tonics Association of New Zealand (STANZ) last year to self-regulate the industry.

    Their code includes not selling to under-18s, product-labelling requirements, limiting the amount of active ingredients used in the pills and educating users on safe use.

    STANZ chairman Matt Bowden said making the pills illegal would drive them underground and turn people to harder drugs.

    "America taught us last century that alcohol prohibition led to Al Capone," he said. "In this case it would lead tens of thousands of people back to P which we know causes serious problems."

    A spokesman for Jim Anderton, the associate health minister responsible for the issue, said Anderton had followed the advice of the expert advisory committee on party pills.

    "The minister does not move to ban things without expert advice," the spokesman said.

    The advice was to create a fourth category of controlled drugs to control the sale and marketing of the pills. A select committee is considering this proposal.

    Buller Mayor Martin Sawyers put his opposition to the pills bluntly: "We don't want the bloody things here.

    "Our kids have a hard enough time growing up anyway without putting more temptation in front of them."

    The Buller District Council recently used an existing bylaw to reject an application by a mobile seller of the herbal highs in Westport.

    Sawyers said the council basically told the applicant to "bugger off".

    "It's not some redneck reaction - we have a lovely little community here and we simply don't want those substances here."

    Among the other mayors to support Kokshoorn were Timaru's Janie Annear, Hutt City's David Ogden and Rangitikei's Bob Buchanan.

    Last edited: May 21, 2006
  14. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

    Reputation Points:
    Jan 14, 2003
    117 y/o from The Netherlands

    The sale of party pills to people under 18 will be banned and other tight restrictions placed on the sale of "legal highs" under a bill being fast-tracked though Parliament.

    After growing controversy over the safety of the unregulated party pill industry, the health select committee has recommended the pills be classified in a new category of restricted substances under the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill.

    Substances such as benzylpiperazine will be listed in a new schedule.

    They will be subject to restrictions and requirements relating to advertising, distribution, manufacturing, sale and supply.

    The Government is confident the bill will be passed before this year's election.

    Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell said the proposed changes could not have come at a better time.

    On Saturday, an 18-year-old woman having seizures and trouble breathing was admitted to Christchurch Hospital's intensive care unit after swallowing 10 pills containing BZP. She was the third case at the hospital in a month.

    Mr Bell said the latest case showed a need for consumer protection and industry regulation.

    "Had the regulations been in effect earlier, we might not have seen shops selling bulk amounts of party pills at cut-price rates, and the consumer would have been well aware of the risks of taking such an amount all at once."

    The party pill industry is estimated to be worth $24 million a year.

    Industry lobby group Social Tonics Association of New Zealand, which has a voluntary code for retailers, welcomes the changes but is wary about the impact on business.

    "There is a thin line between ensuring safe operation of a market people want and enjoy, and restrictions that drive it underground," spokesman Matt Bowden said.

    Nicky Shannon, saleswoman at the Karangahape Rd store, which stocks party pills, said the store had always advocated safety. But restrictions on how it advertised and how much stock it held "wouldn't be the best thing".

    She had used party pills and believed they were not dangerous if used properly.

    "We don't sell to people under 18 and we would refrain from selling to intoxicated people."

    Ms Shannon said the number of pills in a single packet should not be an issue as long as customers knew not to take 10 pills at once.

    But K'Road Liquor Centre manager Mony Grewal said it was dangerous to sell pills in bulk.

    "The trend is to sell more and more in each pack, then you get customers taking eight at once, and that's dangerous."

    He said advertising should not be restricted as long as an R18 age restriction was introduced and clearly displayed.

    "They shouldn't be available in places where young teenagers can enter, such as dairies or food courts."

    Not all political parties are happy with the committee's recommendations.

    Most controversy centres on a last-minute addition to the bill from the United Future Party which will lock in the present legal status of cannabis and other drugs.

    United Future was concerned that cannabis could be downgraded to a restricted substance - and therefore decriminalised - by a procedure known as an order-in-council, which the party likened to a "ministerial sign-off".

    It threatened to withdraw its confidence and money-supply support, which would jeopardise the Government's stability, unless a clause was included that allows a drug's class to be downgraded only by Parliament. Green MP Nandor Tanczos said it was a highly irregular move and an abuse of parliamentary process.

    The bill also lowers to 5g the quantity of methamphetamine that qualifies as being for supply, creates new offences of importing and exporting precursor substances and creates powers of search and seizure without warrant for precursor substances.

    The Greens and Act described the search and seizure provisions as draconian.

    - additional reporting: Derek Cheng

    Party pills

    * Cheap, legal stimulants containing low-risk substances such as benzylpiperazine (BZP) which energise users and give a sense of euphoria. * Users often mix different pills and take extra doses because effects can be slow-acting. * Costs range from $25 for a three-pack up to $30 for one. * Doctors say some users, especially young women, risk bad reactions because of their lower body mass.
  15. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

    Reputation Points:
    Jan 14, 2003
    117 y/o from The Netherlands

    What's hot and what's not in the illicit drug scene will soon be uncovered by university researchers.

    The Massey University team will spend the next two months talking to 180 drug users in what is believed to be the biggest survey of its kind in New Zealand. They hope to find participants for the survey through bars, clubs and cafes in Auckland, Whangarei, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.

    Posters have been put up inviting "24-hour party people" to take part in the study. Participants will be assured of anonymity and the information will only be reported in aggregate, under rules approved by a university ethics committee.

    Lead researcher Dr Chris Wilkins, of the university's Centre for Social and Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation (Shore), said they hoped to find out what the trends were for illicit drug use.

    Questions would the price, availability, and health effects of substances.

    A key aspect will include what drugs are proving most popular and what new ones are hitting the scene.

    A Herald investigation into the drug business last month found that drug testers were encountering new substances, including variations of existing drugs produced to appeal to a new market.

    The methamphetamine drug P, for example, is being challenged in popularity by the party drug "Ice" - even though the two drugs are virtually identical. Variations of Ecstasy are also on the market, and there have been cases recently of combo-drugs that blend party pill ingredients with substances such as methamphetamine.

    Dr Wilkins said the Government-funded survey would be conducted this year and the next two years, at a cost of $140,000 a year.

    The regularity of the survey would enable Government agencies such as the Ministry of Health to plot trends and be more pro-active with drug policy, rather than reacting to drug epidemics.

    It will supplement the three-yearly national drug survey - a poll of households designed to uncover the extent of substance abuse across the country.

    Information will also be gathered from people whose work brings them into contact with drug users, including treatment counsellors, club owners, and health workers. A third strand of information will come from official data such as arrest and seizure figures.

    The Ministry of Health's public health intelligence manager, Barry Borman, said he strongly supported the study.

    If you are interested in taking part, researchers can be contacted


    * Whangarei 0800 111-490

    * Auckland Central 0800 111-491

    * Auckland South 0800 111-495

    * Hamilton 0800 111-492

    * Wellington 0800 111-493

    * Christchurch 0800 111-494
  16. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

    Reputation Points:
    Jan 14, 2003
    117 y/o from The Netherlands

    By any measure the party-pill business is one of New Zealand's boom industries. In the past five years five to six million have been sold and we are now consuming them at a rate of 200,000 every month. The numbers are emphatic testimony to society's large and growing appetite for mind-altering substances. The key ingredient of these pills is benzylpiperazine, or BZP for short, which is derived from pepper and from all accounts owes its popularity to the fact that it mimics the energising effects of some of the most notorious drugs on the illegal market such as Ecstasy, speed and P.

    Side-effects have been reported including heart palpitations, increased temperature and blood pressure, agitation, vomiting, seizures, abdominal pain, hallucinations and convulsions. Not surprisingly there have been calls for a ban from those who inevitably have to pick up the pieces - the medical profession and the police.

    The parliamentary committee on health has responded to such concerns by proposing not to ban the pills but to regulate them and restrict sale to people over 18. For some people, alarmed by shocking stories of the pills'

    bad effects, this might seem a weak response to what is, potentially, a large social problem. But there are reasons to suggest that an outright ban would do more harm than good.

    Certainly that is the line taken by leaders of the $24 million party-pill industry, who have formed themselves into the euphemistically named Social Tonics Association of New Zealand. First, they claim that the harmful effects of party pills are greatly exaggerated and if they are used as directed there should be no problems. The point is backed up by evidence that, despite the enormous number of pills popped, only a small number of pill-poppers end up in casualty wards, a much smaller proportion than for that other well-known legal drug, alcohol.

    Second, they argue that legal party pills provide a beneficial effect by weaning people off, or keeping them away from, the more dangerous, and illegal, alternatives. Third, they point out that a ban will only make the drug problem worse by driving party pills underground.

    Of these three arguments only the third holds water. The first two are undermined by clear evidence that - despite the association's best efforts - these easily available pills are of uneven quality and are often contaminated with other substances, including illegal drugs such as Ecstasy and methamphetamines. Without proper quality control it is impossible to accept either that the pills are harmless or that they save people from harder drugs. On the contrary, the reverse of those two propositions is more likely to be true.

    But the third argument is of an altogether different quality. It raises the age-old moral and legal dilemma associated with banning substances that are in popular demand. To ban may be the most desirable course in principle but in practice it will just force the pill trade underground with the rest of the illicit drug trade. Thus it will become more dangerous and much harder to control.

    The Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill is the most sensible way to navigate through the dilemma. Although it stops well short of the ban that some people desire, it should put the industry on a tightly regulated footing, controlling not only what substances go into party pills but who can buy them and how they are advertised.

    Already there have been mutterings from some in the industry about how regulation might affect business. Rather than trying to quibble they should devote their energies to making sure this long-overdue regulation works to the benefit of their customers and society at large. And in doing so, they should count themselves lucky they have not been driven out of business altogether.
  17. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

    Reputation Points:
    Jan 14, 2003
    117 y/o from The Netherlands

    United Future Forces Change To Bill

    Wellington: It will be more difficult to decriminalise cannabis under a change United Future has forced into a Bill regulating party pills.

    The health select committee yesterday reported back the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill (No 3), originally put forward by Progressive leader Jim Anderton, which amends drug-related legislation.

    The committee agreed low-risk substances people use to get high, such as benzylpiperazine (BZP), a main ingredient of some party pills that act like amphetamines and ecstasy, should be listed under a new restricted substances category.

    However, to ensure cannabis could not be downgraded to a restricted substance, United Future warned the Government it would withdraw its support on confidence issues, which Labour requires to govern, unless the law was changed to make it more difficult to relax a drug's status.

    The result was that, under the Bill, a drug's status can be upgraded by an order in council (which can be made when the executive, often a subcommittee of Cabinet, meets) but any proposal to lower a drug's status must go to Parliament.

    "United Future will not have dangerous drugs freed up by the swipe of a ministerial pen at any time just to suit a minority," United Future MP Judy Turner said.

    Greens MP Nandor Tanczos is unhappy with the change and said it stemmed from a fear expert advice might find cannabis to be safe.

    Mr Tanczos said the change was made at the last minute, was an "entirely new, significant amendment to primary legislation", and was "an abuse of the parliamentary process". The worst aspect was that United Future had threatened to bring the Government down if it did not get its way.

    Act New Zealand also questioned the move and said full parliamentary processes, including public submissions, should be required for increasing or decreasing drug regulation.

    If the Bill is passed, substances such as BZP would be listed in a new schedule, which could be amended, and could be subject to restrictions and requirements relating to advertising, distribution, manufacturing, sale and supply.

    The committee also recommended sales be restricted to people aged over 18.

    The Bill also lowers the quantity of methamphetamine that qualifies as being for supply to 5g, creates new offences of importing and exporting precursor substances, and creates powers of search and seizure without warrant for precursor substances.

    Act questioned whether those changes would result in high costs for manufacturers and importers, while the Greens were concerned about human rights implications of stronger search provisions.
  18. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

    Reputation Points:
    Jan 14, 2003
    117 y/o from The Netherlands

    A Dunedin toxicologist supports restricting the sale of legal party pills, but would also like to see them banned. Dr John Fountain, from the National Poisons Centre in Dunedin, said he had noticed a steady increase in the number of people using party pills during the past two years. The centre received about 14 calls a month from people experiencing the side effects of benzylpiperazine (BZP) pills and 10 calls from the public and health professionals.

    A parliamentary health select committee yesterday reported back the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill (No 3), which amends drug-related legislation.

    The committee agreed low-risk substances used to get high, such as BZP, should be restricted, rather than outlawed.

    Since the start of the year, 20 people have sought treatment at the Dunedin Hospital emergency department because they mixed BZP, which is classified neither as a drug, nor as a dietary supplement, with alcohol.

    At the weekend, an 18-year-old woman was taken to Christchurch Hospital after swallowing 10 pills containing BZP.

    BZP typically causes euphoria, but can result in agitation, vomiting, abdominal pain and seizures.

    Dr Fountain said more independent research was needed to prove the harmful effects of BZP.

    "I believe BZP shouldn't be allowed to be sold legally," he said.

    Dr Fountain is seeking ethical approval for a year-long national study on people affected by party pills. Committee chairwoman Steve Chadwick said there was a general consensus the substances should be regulated and that was in line with the opinion of the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs.

    "As we still have reservations about the safety of BZP, we think that restrictions and guidelines need to be in place. We expect the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs will continue to monitor research on the level of harm associated with BZP and assess the risk it poses," Ms Chadwick said in a statement.

    New Zealand Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell welcomed the committee's recommendations.

    "The amendments provide the framework for party pills to be regulated, but not banned outright, a flexible mechanism for harm-minimisation that hasn't existed before," Mr Bell said.

    At present, there was no requirement for people selling party pills to warn people that taking large quantities would make them sick, he said.

    "While we can't regulate against personal stupidity, we can regulate against unsafe marketing practice and ensure the consumer is given sufficient information about the risks and effects of party pills."

    Associate Minister of Health Jim Anderton said he was pleased with the recommendations, but wanted substances such as butane gas and aerosols regulated.
  19. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

    Reputation Points:
    Jan 14, 2003
    117 y/o from The Netherlands

    Christchurch Hospital is reviewing all patients treated in the past six months suffering ill-effects from party pills after another teenager was admitted having seizures and needing intensive care treatment.

    The 16-year-old Ashburton teenager was admitted via the emergency department two weeks ago after reacting badly to four pills. She had two seizures before entering the hospital, then two in hospital and was admitted to intensive care.

    Her mother said she wanted her daughter's story to be told as a warning to others thinking of experimenting with party pills. The family was still coming to grips with what happened. "This is a good kid who made a terrible mistake," she said.

    The mother declined to be named because the family was well-known and she did not want her daughter to suffer further repercussions.

    Emergency medicine specialist Dr Paul Gee said the girl had "blood chemistry that shouldn't really be compatible with a living person".

    Gee was concerned someone would die from the effects of party pills, as was nearly the case with this girl and an 18-year-old seen last month.

    Toxicology results showed neither had taken any other drugs or alcohol, he said.

    Christchurch Hospital general manager of medical and surgical services Shelly Park said she asked staff to look at "numbers and outcomes" of party pills patients.

    She said the intention was to "get a feel" for the pills' impact.

    Gee said the emergency department had seen 12 people suffering benzylpiperazine (BZP) after-effects in the past month, including six who were admitted with seizures.

    Gee said BZP, a legal and supposedly safe drug that mimics the effects of speed, was banned in Australia, the United States and Europe.
  20. ~lostgurl~

    ~lostgurl~ Platinum Member & Advisor Donating Member

    Reputation Points:
    Dec 23, 2004
    from Australia
    I was interviewed for the above Massey University study, will be interesting to read the results......
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2006