On 3 March 2008 Europe responded to concerns over the use of the stimulant drug BZP by subjecting it to “control measures and criminal provisions” across EU Member States. This decision of the Council of EU was adopted today in the final stage of the three–step procedure to respond to potentially threatening new psychoactive drugs in the EU, within the Early Warning System.

The Council Decision is based on the findings of a formal risk-assessment report on BZP produced in 2007 by the European Monitoring Centre for drugs and Drug Addictions (EMCDDA), with participation of additional experts from the European Commission, Europol, and the European Medicines Agency (EMEA). The report examined the health and social risk of the drug as well as information on international trafficking and the involvement of organized crime.

The council Decision states that: “due to its stimulant properties, risk to health, the lack of medical benefits and following the precautionary principle, there is a need to control BZP”.

BZP (1-benzilpiperazine) is a psychoactive drug belonging to the group of piperazine derivates. Like amphetamine and methamphetamine, BZP is a central nervous system stimulant and provokes similar effects to these substances, although it is less potent (around 10% of that of d-amphetamine). Whereas the parent compound piperazine has been widely used for many years as an anti-worming drug, BZP has never been used for such a purpose. Health risks or adverse reactions reported by BZP users include: vomiting, headaches, stomach pains/nausea, anxiety, insomnia, mood swings and confusion – with certain symptoms sometimes lasting for up to 24 hours.