Sunday, July 09, 2006

Getting High with Jim and Clayton.

When it comes to illicit drugs I can take them or leave them. I’ve had my phase of chemical experimentation and from what I remember it wasn’t too bad. In the words of Hicks I didn’t kill anyone, didn’t rape anyone, didn’t lose a “single” job. Basically I laughed my arse off and went about my day. But that’s not to say drugs are a lifestyle choice for me. Cocaine makes me jabber like an idiot, pot puts me to sleep, the limited buzz off ecstasy isn’t worth the price of a tab, and thanks to a needle phobia, I’ll never go anywhere near heroin. Methamphetamine has its moments but the downer far outweighs the upper and as you get older dealing with a come-down (like hangovers) gets progressively harder.

So my theory on drugs is simple. If they’re there and I’m in the mood I’ll take them. Otherwise I can leave them well alone. If other people want to do them and no one gets hurt by it, then hey knock yourself out I don’t care.

However the times they are a changing. One shudders from using the phrase nanny state but that seems to be what’s happening in this day and age. Incrementally the Government is making decisions about what we can and cannot put into our bodies. Obviously the illegal drugs are the main targets but give a steering group, or a politician, a chance and even the stuff that’s legit’ ends up becoming a no-no. For example BZP and Nitrous Oxide.

The BZP issue is one I have a passing acquaintance of, as it was a newsroom I worked in that drew it to public attention, and later hysteria, about four years ago. BZP, or Benzylpiperazine, was used predominantly as a bovine worming powder in the 1960’s and 1970’s. It was withdrawn when more efficient new generation drugs were developed. I recall at the time when we were contacting doctors and vets about it they were absolutely flabbergasted that people would choose it to get high. What would its side effects be we asked? “Well they’ll have clean intestines and shiny coats was the invariable response”. At that stage not a lot seemed to be known about BZP though the consensus was, like any drug, if you take too much of it then there’ll be consequences.

BZP use has never caused the death of a human. It’s only recorded involvement in a fatality was a case in Europe however the victim had also been using ecstasy and her death was connected with over-consumption of water that sometimes occurs when people use the drug. Yet this doesn’t stop the doomsayers from issuing their prophecies of doom. In NZ Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove has often quoted a case of a woman from Kaiapoi who almost died from taking BZP. What he conveniently neglects to mention is that the woman’s illness was a consequence of her being allergic to an ingredient in the party pill she took. Coincidentally he’s the MP leading the charge to have BZP and party-pills outlawed.

Personally BZP is not something I’d care to use and I’d agree it’s probably not a good thing for teenagers to be taking either. But is it deserving of being the centre of a political crusade when there are far worse drugs, such as “P” wreaking havoc across all levels of our society?

Now lets look at Nitrous Oxide which the country’s Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton would have us believe is destroying young lives, promoting antisocial behaviour, and (shudder) leads to the use of hard drugs. In April 2005 Anderton began his moral crusade against Nitrous Oxide or NOS. He had, he claimed, a legal opinion from the Crown Law Office that the sale or purchase of NOS for recreational use was illegal. A crack-down was proclaimed amidst promises those caught in breach of the law would be dealt with harshly.

Well three months went by and the party pill shops were still merrily selling it by the balloon full. Enquiries were made to police and the Ministry of Health along the lines of “Umm this crackdown you were talking about … well what’s happening?” The response? “We’re giving them an educational grace period to get into line”. Five months after the crack-down was announced an authorities ran their one and only enforcement operation. Six shops in Christchurch were visited on August 31st. So what was touted as a national initiative ended up happening just once, in one city. A city, which coincidentally, is where Jim Anderton lives.

Would you be curious as to what the result of this enforcement operation was? Well I’ll tell you. The Ministry of Health has only recently, and very grudgingly, admitted that only one retailer was referred for prosecution. But oops he’s done a runner and they can’t find him to drag him through the Courts.

The word is police don’t believe they can take a successful prosecution, which is why NOS has become such a low profile issue in the last year. They can brandish enforcement as a threat but they really don’t want to take a case to Court and lose because if they do retailers will be back to the merry ways without fear of punishment.

1 comment:

bzpresearch said...

Taking BZP pills are health hazards.Many people take it in party.I think it is not good.there should be more researchon this BZP.My site sells BZP and TFMPP powder for research purpose.