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Nandor calls for regulation of 'legal highs'

18 March, 2004

Nandor calls for regulation of 'legal highs'

Green MP Nandor Tanczos today called for the government to amend the Misuse of Drugs Act to allow drugs like benzylpiperazenes (BZP) and trifluromethylphenylpiperazenes (TFMPP) to be made R18 and to restrict where they could be sold.

"BZP is becoming more widely used and we need a proper mechanism to regulate it," said Nandor, the Green Party drug policy spokesperson.

"The Misuse of Drugs Act only has the ability to ban products entirely. This is unsatisfactory because while there are no objective grounds to make BZP illegal, we don't want to see it sold to all ages in the corner dairy. New schedules such as a 'D' and 'E' class where drugs were restricted but not criminalised would provide such a mechanism."

Nandor said that such an amendment would also allow tobacco and alcohol to come within the framework of the Misuse of Drugs Act where they belong.

The Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD) is scheduled tomorrow (Friday) to examine BZP and TFMPP, which are legal stimulants based on extracts of pepper. The products are becoming increasingly popular in the dance party scene

"The EACD is in a bit of a dilemma. All of the research into piperazenes doesn't show evidence of harm. The law requires a recommendation to ban a drug to be based on an objective evaluation of harm, so it is hard to see what scientific basis there is for making them illegal.

"On the other hand, the EACD has no mechanism for recommending some lesser restrictions, such as on age and where you can buy them. That's why the law needs to change," said Nandor.

Nandor disputed comments by Detective Inspector Gary Knowles, the head of the police national drug intelligence and a member of the EACD, made in a newspaper report this morning that purchasers of the products - sold as Frenzy, Exodus and Euphoria, for example - have no idea of what the pills contain.

"The law requires that the packaging states the ingredients on it. Making the products illegal would indeed mean people would not know what they were buying. But we should add a legal requirement to carry clear statements about its effects and potential side effects. That would also not be possible if they were made illegal."

"The main problem for some people seems to be that these products are used by people who like to dance all night. Such bias is not a good ground for making public policy decisions. I am confident that the EACD will keep to its brief and make its recommendation based on science rather than sensationalism."


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