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Scientologists urge U.S. curbs on easily obtained hallucinogen BZ

Title: Scientologists urge U.S. curbs on easily obtained hallucinogen BZ
Date: Thursday, 23 August 1979
Publisher: Los Angeles Times (California)
Author: Paul Glenchur
Main source: link (59 KiB)

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WASHINGTON — With a phone call to a pharmaceutical firm in New Jersey, American Citizens for Honesty in Government, an affiliate of the Church of Scientology, obtained a small amount of BZ, a hallucinogen used by the Army in the 1960's for chemical warfare tests.

A spokesman for the drug firm, Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc., acknowledged that it had furnished the drug to the Scientologists and said steps had been taken to strengthen drug distribution security.

The Scientologists, who said BZ is more potent than LSD, charged at a press conference Wednesday that the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Food and Drug Administration had been guilty of negligence by failing to control the drug's availability.

The Scientologists obtained 100 milligrams of the chemical by telephoning a request to Dr. William E. Scott at Hoffmann-La Roche in early July. Vaughn Young, editor of a Scientology publication, said he told the firm he wanted the drug for research purposes.

About three weeks later, a vial of the drug arrived in a cardboard box.

After searching for government controls for BZ and finding none, the Scientologists called the news conference Wednesday and displayed the chemical.

"If BZ were a controlled substance," Young said, "federal agents would quickly take me into tow, but the drug right now sits here legally obtained."

The Army, which still keeps stockpiles of the drug, conducted BZ tests on soldiers in the 1960's but did not follow up to check for long-range effects. The Scientologists said they have located soldiers who have complained about after-effects, including amnesia and weight loss.