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University studies physical effects of party pills

University studies physical effects of party pills

Researchers at The University of Auckland’s School of Pharmacy have begun investigation into the effects that BZP and TFMPP have on the human body, the first in-depth controlled research into these chemicals and their effects.

Benzylpiperazine (BZP) and Trifluoromethylphenylpiperazine (TFMPP) are the main constituents of party pills. In the 1970s, BZP was used in two controlled studies, and there are no available controlled trials describing the effects that TFMPP has on people. No other controlled experiments have been published.

The new studies at The University of Auckland involve recruiting volunteers to perform simple tasks designed to assess their working memory and neurological function using a 128 lead EEG both before and after taking either BZP and/or TFMPP. The responses will be compared with those of the normal brain to identify those areas affected by the drugs.

Additional research is also being carried out to determine exactly how these drugs are metabolised by the liver and subsequently how long they stay in the body.

The use of BZP and TFMPP as recreational drugs is legal in many countries, including New Zealand. Conservative estimates from 2005 suggest that approximately 150,000 doses/month of Party Pills aka Legal Herbal Highs are sold within NZ from corner dairies, liquor shops and online. They contain either BZP and/or TFMPP (amphetamine-like substances) along with herbal stimulants such as guarana (caffeine) and black pepper. In 2004 the NZ Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs concluded that there was insufficient information available to classify either substance within the Misuse of Drugs Act.

“The majority of the effects that BZP and TFMPP have on the human body are largely unknown” says Dr Bruce Russell, coordinator of the research. “The research we are undertaking will look closely at the pharmacological effects these drugs have on the brain and their metabolism to provide detailed information about exactly what effects they do have and how long they last. We are hoping that this research and further studies that we have planned, will allow people to make an informed decision about the use of BZP and TFMPP in the future.”

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