Monday, March 26, 2007

Beware of herbal pills as they may cause seizures

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is to look at the health and social risks of benzylpiperazine, or BZP.

It could lead to the stimulant being banned under controlled substances laws.

BZP - also known as Pep Love, Cosmic Kelly and The Good Stuff - was declared dangerous and illegal by the UK's medicines regulator last week.

It can mimic drugs such as amphetamine and ecstasy when combined with other substances, and usually comes in pill form, often imprinted with a housefly, heart or butterfly.

Although some dealers claim it comes from natural extracts, it is synthetic and can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, seizures and abnormal heart rhythms.

BZP contains piperazine which is used as an anti-worming agent and is found in human and veterinary products.

The EMCDDA said health risks associated with BZP may include hypertension, rapid beating of the heart, seizures, anxiety and insomnia - with some symptoms sometimes lasting up to 24 hours.
EMCDDA director Wolfgang Gotz said: "Keeping our ear to the ground and picking up on new substances and trends is a central part of our work at the EMCDDA to ensure that problems are detected before they become major health threats.

Today we see that our detection mechanisms are working well and we are satisfied that we can now go a step further in our analysis of BZP."

BZP-containing products have been marketed as "natural" or "herbal" highs under various brand names including Pep pills, Flying Angel, Red Eye Frog and Triple X. Last year, the largest BZP seizure of 64,900 tablets took place in the UK, the EMCDDA said, suggesting the involvement of organised crime in its trafficking and wholesale distribution.

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