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Bassindale T. 
“Benzylpiperazine: the New Zealand legal perspective”. 
Drug Test Anal. 2011 Jul 22;3(7-8):428-9.
Benzylpiperazine (BZP)was first sold commercially asanalternative and legal drug in New Zealand around the year 2000. As it was not listed under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, there were no legal controls around sale or distribution. This meant that the distributors were able to market BZP as a dietary supplement without need for pre-market approval. As the manufacturers and distributors also avoided any claims about therapeutic effect, the tablets did not fall under the control of the Medicines Act 1981. Prior to the rise of BZP as a recreational drug, there were no licensed therapeutic uses in humans.

BZP was marketed as an alternative to illegal drugs, such as methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and methamphetamine. The drug was often sold in products mixed with other ingredients to mimic the effects of other drugs. For instance, trifluromethylphenylpiperazine (TFMPP) and BZP were said to mimic the effects of MDMA.[1] Dosage units were readily available through service stations and high street ‘party pill’ shops at all hours and over the Internet. Ministry of Health figures estimated that 1.5 to 2 million doses had been sold by one distributor in New Zealand between 2001 and 2003[2] whilst industry figures estimate 26 million doses had been sold in New Zealand over an 8-year period.[3]

In 2004, the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs[2] produced a report for the Health Minister considering the classification position on BZP. The Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 stipulates that there must be such a committee to advise the Minister on drug classification matters. The Committee examined the evidence on BZP available at that time, according to particular criteria which have to be met before the Committee can make any recommendations. These criteria were likelihood or evidence of drug abuse, specific effects of the drug, potential to cause death, risks to public health, therapeutic value, ability to create physical or psychological dependence, international classification and experience, and any other pertinent information. The Committee took evidence from the Ministry of Health, New Zealand’s drug enforcement authorities, industry figures, and others.
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