Drug Rehab News New Zealand Outlaws “party Pills”

The New Zealand government has decided to ban what they call "party pills" that contain benzylpiperazine (BZP) and triflouro-methyl-phenylpiperazine (TFMPP). Known in New Zealand as "Herbal Highs", "Pep Pills" or "Dance Pills", these drugs have been legal for several years. In 2005, the NZ government added restrictions to make them only available to people over 18 and a new law expected to pass in 2007 will ban the drugs entirely. Although the drugs are currently legal, they can be dangerous in themselves and they are part and parcel of the after-hours drug scene that leads so many young adults to powerfully addictive narcotics and eventually into drug rehab.

Estimated to be a $30 million industry in New Zealand, the manufacture and sale of the pills was originally allowed to counter the growing number of people taking illegal amphetamines and the associated rise in drug addiction and violence. The drugs' effects are similar to and, in some cases, indistinguishable from amphetamines, including MDMA. Their popularity means that an estimated 5 million pills will be sold in New Zealand in 2007 before the ban takes effect. Once the new law is passed, anyone caught supplying, manufacturing or exporting the pills would face a penalty of up to eight years imprisonment, and anyone caught in possession of the pills could be fined and imprisoned for up to three months.

Why the change in heart? Although much is still unknown about the drugs, including whether or not someone will require drug rehab to get off them, BZP is known to have adverse effects such as dilated pupils, dryness of the mouth, itching, confusion, agitation, tremor, dystonia (sustained muscle contractions causing twisting and repetitive movements or abnormal postures), headache, dizziness, anxiety, insomnia, vomiting, chest pain, tachycardia, hypertension, palpitations, collapse, hyperventilation, hyperthermia, urine retention and, at its most extreme, psychosis, renal failure and seizures.

BZP is already banned in a few countries, including the USA, Australia, Britain, Sweden, but it still available in many countries. In March this year, the European Union initiated an investigation into the health and social risks of the substance.

Just this week, a young woman in Ireland collapsed and required hospital treatment after taking BZP pills that are legally marketed as an alternative to Ecstasy in some 30 shops across Ireland. And as long ago as 2001, a report from University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland details the death of a young woman attributed to a combination of BZP and MDMA.

From anyone's perspective, a drug that causes physical collapse or death is not desirable. When the proposed ban in New Zealand takes effect, we'll find out how addictive these drugs really are and how many people wind up in drug rehab trying to get off them.

By: Rod