Page last updated at 13:56 GMT, Thursday, 21 May 2009 14:56 UK

Move to outlaw two 'party' drugs

Hester Stewart
Sussex University student Hester Stewart died after taking GBL

Two "party" drugs linked to the death of young people will be banned under plans unveiled by the Home Office.

The move will make BZP - also known as herbal ecstasy - and industrial solvent GBL, sold as a "legal high", illegal.

The parents of Hester Stewart, 21, who died after taking GBL in Brighton last month, wrote to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith asking her to change the law.

And a coroner urged BZP to be banned after mortgage broker Daniel Backhouse, 22, died after using the drug.

The proposal would categorise BZP - which Mr Backhouse had mixed with ecstasy powder - as a Class C drug.

'Changing environment'

Ms Smith said: "I am determined that we respond to the dangers of these drugs and that is why I have committed to controlling them.

"It is absolutely right that we continue to adapt our drug policy to the changing environment of substance misuse.

"This is the next step in tackling the unregulated market of so-called 'legal highs'."

BZP - made illegal in the Republic of Ireland earlier this year - would carry a UK prison term of up to two years for possession and 14 years for dealing.

The drug, originally a worming treatment for cattle, can cause serious heart problems, vomiting, anxiety attacks, mood swings and seizures.

GBL is taken as a substitute for party drug GHB, which is already outlawed.

The Home Office's consultation paper on the drugs also includes proposals to ban some anabolic steroids, which have been linked to infertility and liver problems.



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