I saw a news item this morning stating that the NZ government had just passed legislation banning BZP-based drugs which actually made me ask Annette if there had been lots of deaths or incidents involving BZP that I had somehow missed in the news.

She told me that she thinks that one person had to go to hospital, a couple of years back.

Is this true? And if so, what the hell? Jim Anderton sponsored the bill and his web site says that BZP is a health risk and causes seizures, but I’m not sure what the probability is – this is of course only anecdotal but I know a lot of folk who take party pills and neither I nor they have EVER heard of anyone having a seizure because of it.

Andertons web site doesn’t say what the risk level actually is, just that there is some. Is this really just a Drugs Are Bad (If They’re Fun. And Not Alcohol. And Untaxed.) thing?

While I personally don’t use ’em, so am not affected by this ban, I have to ask if there’s not something more important the associate minister for health can be doing about the NZ health care system than this kind of apparent nanny state knee-jerk crap.


  1. The Greens, the Maori Party and Act all said this in the Parliamentry debate. All it means is that criminals now have a new source of income. Yay!

  2. It’s so dumb, way to push bzp drugs into the underground and therefore give some more income to the gangs!
    Some people can’t take these drugs – like me for example – but if you can’t take them you *know* you can’t and therefore you don’t. Simple. What’s next? Caffeine? Caffeine makes me vomit and poses a serious health risk to me so maybe it should be illegal? How about peanuts? Some people can die if they smell a peanut! Maybe they should be illegal too?
    the thing that really gets me is when it comes to cigarettes and alcohol – which are PROVEN to cause far more deaths and social problems – somehow the general public is deemed sensible enough to make their own decisions about those drugs

  3. Yeah, they interviewed one of the maori party on the news asking why they voted against. He was like “no deaths, no real studies, make it go underground” and “if you want to ban something proven to cause death and health issues, ban smoking or tax alcohol etc”. So yeah, right royally mucked this one up I reckon.

  4. thou shall not

    This is pretty much the case with most drugs that don’t cause physical dependency, ecstasy is actually safer than aspirin.

    • Re: thou shall not

      To be fair, aspirin is actually a pretty dangerous drug. And 20 tabs of 500g paracetamol is fatal, although it does take three very long weeks to die. Hence you can only buy it in blister packs rather than loose in a bottle.

  5. Apparently one of the reasons it has been banned in so many countries is the the US accidently published a paper stating that BZP was 20x more potent than dexa-amphetamine, in in fact it was 20x less, which made BZP a shedule 1 drug, even though the mistake was admitted they never took it off shedule 1 and most countries based their decision to ban it on the fact that it is in schedule 1.

  6. Remember, this is the same Jim Anderton who effectively killed the Yellow Ribbon campaign – at a time when youth suicide in this country was at an all-time low as a direct result of that organisation – despite the fact that his daughter committed suicide in the 90s.

    This guy is Wrong on such a fundamental level it stopped being funny…

    • I don’t remember all of it, but what exactly was the jist of the Yellow Ribbon campaign? And how did Jim Anderton kill it?

      Because when you talk about his daughter’s suicide, I’m pretty sure that she was taking drugs of some sort, and that’s what really fuels his campaigns. Apologies if I’m completely wrong.

      And in the interests of full disclosure: pot makes me spin out. A lot. And that’s why I’m happy to have R18 legislation and safety-nets around drugs. But I don’t think that banning BZP is helpful.

      • Gist of the campaign was “pretending suicide doesn’t exist hasn’t worked out so good; let’s get a conversation going and get education into schools”.

        Anderton was one of a couple of ministers who signed a letter that was sent to all schools in the country strongly, strongly advising them to stop running the campaign, because, I don’t know, not enough young people had died recently or something.

        And his daughter was doing drugs. Before she committed suicide. I really don’t understand why he would make such an effort to shut down an organisation that had proven success in lowering the youth suicide rate in this country…

        • From memory the reasoning was.

          “If you don’t _tell_ kids about suicide then they won’t think to do it”

          And that by raising awareness of suicide you might be “enabling” kids who otherwise wouldn’t think about it.

          i.e very similar to the old “Playing violent video games makes you a killer” train of thought.

          • “If you don’t _tell_ kids about suicide then they won’t think to do it”

            I remember being taught that in Health when I was at teachers college 10 years ago. At the same time they were teaching us that open and frank sex ed was the way to go and talking about sex was _not_ going to make kids rush out and bonk the first thing they saw. I can’t remember if we were meant to be frank or silent about drugs.