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BZP used to be commonplace on the ingredients list for legal party pills. But it was reclassified as a class C substance. Why?

Benzylpiperazine (BZP) produces stimulant effects similar to MDMA and amphetamines and was used widely as an ingredient in party pills. BZP is a piperazine derivative, and is sometimes found mixed in ecstasy tablets. It is also used industrially in brake fluid, plastics, pesticides, and worming treatment in animals. It used to be prescribed as an anti-depressant until medical experts realised its amphetamine-like effects and that it can cause dependency. Before it was made illegal, BZP was commonly marketed as a 'herbal high', which is misleading as it is completely synthetic.

BZP is often sold in an array of coloured pills with impressions stamped into them, like stars, hearts, and butterflies. The chemical composition of piperazines are always being changed and modified, so it's hard to know exactly what you are swallowing.

What are the effects of BZP?

  • A sensation of euphoria, amazement and well being, similar to the effects of ecstasy but not as potent
  • Increased alertness with bags of extra energy
  • Enhanced sensations, with greater appreciation of music, taste, and colour
  • Decreased appetite
  • Effects tend to last between six and eight hours

What are the risks of BZP?

  • Side effects include: headaches, uncomfortable heart thumping, dry mouth, confusion, body temperature changes, vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Users have reported hangover-like symptoms that last up to 24 hours after taking the drug
  • Seizures, respiratory failure, and even deaths have been linked to BZP
  • You are never entirely sure what you are taking, so can never predict how you will react

BZP and the law:

BZP is classified as a class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Possession can land you two years in prison and/or a hefty fine. And supplying is punishable by a 14-year prison sentence and/or a fine.

BZP is also known as:

Party pills, BZP, herbal ecstasy, smileys, happy pills, legal e, legal x, pep love, fast lane, exodus, rapture, blast, euphoria, frenzy, nemesis, cosmic Kelly, and pep stoned.

If you are planning on taking BZP:

  • People suffering from high blood pressure or a heart condition should steer clear of stimulants. And users might have an unknown pre-existing heart condition, and suffer a fit or heart attack after taking BZP.
  • Don't mix BZP with other stimulants or alcohol.
  • Stimuants can create dependency.

Updated: 01/11/2010

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