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Party pill industry calls for more regulation

Party pill industry calls on Minister for more regulation

The Social Tonics Association of New Zealand (STANZ) today called on the Minister for Drug Policy, Hon Jim Anderton, to introduce further regulations to make party pills even safer.

STANZ spokesperson Matt Bowden said the Government had made the right decision to place controls around party pills last year, including an 18 year age limit, but said further controls were needed to counter one or two irresponsible operators.

"News that some party pills are being sold with levels of BZP more than double what the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD) recognise as a safe level is of real concern.

"We have been asking the Minister for some months now to take the next simple step and introduce regulations limiting the level of BZP per party pill to 200mg," said Mr Bowden.

This is 50mg less than what the EACD advised as a safe level. STANZ members have a voluntary Code of Practice which limits BZP content to 200mg per dose.

"If the Minister agreed to this further regulation I think there would be strong support for the move both from within the industry and from other political parties."

Mr. Bowden welcomed Minister Anderton's commitment to maintaining an evidence-based approach to the issue.

"There's no question at all that banning these products would make any problems infinitely worse. A ban would hand these products to the gangs - there would be no age limits and far less control over BZP than we have now," he said.

"With more than 20 million of these products sold in New Zealand over the last five to six years there is plenty of evidence that party pills act as a safer, legal alternative to dangerous illegal drugs like methamphetamine."

Mr. Bowden said that after 20 million sales there was not a single case of BZP causing any lasting harm. He noted that BZP-based products remain legal across much of the world and there is not a single BZP related death recorded anywhere.

"With some simple regulations party pills could be even safer and better controlled. They should have limits on them just like alcohol does. This is all that we are asking the Minister to do - we all seem to be wanting the same outcomes."

Mr. Bowden said there was much support for a maximum BZP dosage limit even if it was only temporary and that problems with BZP-related hospital admissions seemed mostly isolated to areas where operators were including irresponsibly high levels of BZP.

"With a simple, common-sense step we can make this industry even safer. We ask the Minister to work with us to make this happen."

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