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NZ considers ban on BZP

Medical experts want tough restrictions or an outright ban on party pills, as the Government gets set to make a decision on their future.

Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton will take proposals to a Cabinet committee today after a report on the BZP-based pills last week by the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs.

It is understood the committee has seriously considered recommending banning party pills, which one in five New Zealanders have used, or placing tough restrictions on their use.

Emergency medicine specialist Paul Gee, who has been researching the effects of the pills, wants them banned, but admits some doctors think that could send them underground. "But all of us agree there needs to be more regulation."

Dr Gee said minimum regulations should include tighter age and access restrictions as well as dosage limits. "(They) shouldn't be at every garage and dairy, every shop every hundred metres."

Hospitals nationwide have reported an influx of young patients with ill-effects, including seizures, after taking the pills in the past year.

The pills contain benzylpiperazine (BZP), which mimics the drug ecstasy and can also leave users feeling agitated and dehydrated. The substance is banned in the United States.

The trade is worth an estimated $24 million a year.

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Tags : BZP
Posted on: 2006-12-13 11:26:41