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On the eve of the BZP party pill ban, the New Zealand Drug Foundation has called for a voluntary moratorium on sales of all new non-BZP party pills until an independent analysis has been carried out to determine their risk.

From tomorrow, it will be illegal to manufacture and sell BZP-based party pills, and a six-month amnesty is in place for personal possession and use. It is expected that the party pill industry will introduce non-BZP products from this date. New BZP-free products are already being advertised online by some retailers.

However, the Drug Foundation warns there is no information about what is in the new products or their health effects, and that consumers’ health could be severely compromised. The foundation is calling for retailers to voluntarily withhold the new products from sale until an independent analysis is undertaken to determine exactly what is in them, and whether there are any health risks from the various ingredients.

“This is the same risky situation we had when BZP pills were first introduced. We don’t know what’s in them, we don’t know their effects and so we aren’t able to provide good health and safety advice to consumers. We cannot rely on the industry to provide unbiased information,” said Ross Bell, Drug Foundation Executive Director.

“These new products have zero regulations over them. This means they can be sold from anywhere, including the corner dairy, to anyone, including people under 18 years old. There is no requirement for the products to have health and safety labelling, so consumers won’t have a clue what’s in them or their possible health effects. Once more, the law is lagging behind what is happening in the marketplace.”

The Drug Foundation is asking the government’s independent Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs to review the new products and provide advice on how they should be regulated.

The Drug Foundation will recommend to the EACD that these products be classified as “Restricted Substances” under the Misuse of Drugs Act, which provides controls such as a sales restriction to people over 18 years and bans some advertising.

“While we’re in this state of regulatory limbo, we urge retailers to show some responsibility and postpone sales of the new pills until an independent review is complete and made available to the public.”

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