So, the government wants to ban party pills on the basis of their health effects. But while the government's expert committee found that a number of studies had showed "potential for serious harm in some individuals" due to side effects, they also noted that
there have been no recorded deaths attributed solely to the use of BZP
Meanwhile, according to a study commissioned by ALAC, alcohol directly kills over a thousand people a year [PDF]. By any reasonable standard, we're banning the wrong drug.
Before anyone gets the wrong end of the stick, I do not want to see alcohol prohibition. Rather, I want to see some consistency. If we're happy for people to drink booze at such an enormous cost in human life, then we should be happy for them to take party pills at a far lower cost. And if we're concerned about medical costs or use by children, we should adopt the same approach of excise taxes and age limits. If we think adults are free to fuck up their own lives with the odd drink, then we have to also grant them the right to fuck up their own lives with the odd party pill. Anything else is pure hypocrisy.
Unfortunately, "pure hypocrisy" describes the government's approach to a T - a fact which is unlikely to go unnoticed by party pill poppers. And rather than engendering respect for the law, it is likely to result in their concluding that it, and Anderton, is an ass.