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Party Pill Study Adds Weight To Call For A Ban

Cosgrove: Party Pill Study Adds Weight To Call For A Ban

The findings of an independent media organisation study into BZP dosages in party pills have left Waimakariri MP and Associate Minister of Justice, Hon Clayton Cosgrove, fuming.

The study, commissioned by Radio New Zealand, tested four brands of so-called "herbal highs" and found that all had significantly higher levels of benzylpiperazine (BZP) than stated on the label. That adds weight to calls for BZP-based party pills to be banned according to Mr Cosgrove.

"I find it grotesque that these BZP-based pills are being sold for human consumption at all, but to be selling them with these mega-doses of BZP is grossly irresponsible. One particular brand purchased in Christchurch apparently gave a recommended dosage equivalent to more than 1000 milligrams of BZP. This is just reckless. In my view these party pills are dangerous at any dosage," Mr Cosgrove said.

"I find it equally objectionable, however, that people who are making money out of these pills are now going around under a smokescreen of social responsibility saying we need simply to apply tighter regulations to these pills rather than a ban.

"Social Tonics Association spokesperson, Matt Bowden, is calling for regulations and manufacturing standards, and it may all sound rather reasonable and responsible, but this comes from a man who is making money from developing these pills."

Mr Cosgrove presented a petition to the Associate Health Minister and Chair of the Committee on National Drug Policy, Hon Jim Anderton, last month, regarding BZP-based pills, and communicated the message he had been clearly given by his local community that these party pills should be banned.

"Mr Anderton and I agree that once the research has been done and if the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs recommends banning these insidious pills then that will happen."

Mr Cosgrove has also met with experts in this field, who have supported his stance that these pills are dangerous and unfit for human consumption.

Professor Rob Hughes of the University of Canterbury, along with one of his Masters students, has been conducting research into the behavioural effects of BZP on the adolescent brain. Findings of this research indicate the potential for serious harm from BZP-based party pills, and cast doubt on the claim that stricter regulations on dosage would solve the problem.

"Professor Hughes has stated that overseas research has established that the effects of BZP on the brain are identical to methamphetamine but at about one tenth of the potency. However, this difference in strength can be made up by taking accordingly higher doses of BZP," Mr Cosgrove said.

Mr Cosgrove has also spoken with Doctor Paul Gee, an Emergency Specialist at Christchurch Hospital, who has been conducting research into the pills and the effects that he has seen first-hand in the Hospital's Emergency Department. He says in his report published in the New Zealand Medical Journal that, in 2005, four to five patients per weekend were being seen at the hospital with adverse effects from these pills.

"I would like Mr Bowden to try and explain himself to the parents of the young North Canterbury girl who took party pills and effectively died three times before eventually being revived. Or the family of the man who suffered a seizure while driving three hours after taking two party pills one morning," Mr Cosgrove said.

"I fail to see how a person who is actively producing and promoting these harmful pills can portray himself as socially responsible. This is a person who, by his own admission, has been carrying out human trials of some new type of party pill designed to mimic ecstasy. This is grotesque, and is he even qualified to conduct such human trials?

"It seems to me that what Mr Bowden is really concerned about is ensuring his own pockets and those of other party pill manufacturers remain well lined, not the well-being of our young people."

© Scoop Media

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