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POLICE, FDA TEST STIMULANT : INVESTIGATORS SEEK TO IDENTIFY INGREDIENTS IN `FX' THAT MAY HAVE SICKENED 30.

Byline: Stacy Finz Daily News Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Police Department and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have teamed up to test a new herbal stimulant that might have contributed to 30 young people getting violently ill at a New Year's Eve concert, officials said Thursday.

The substance, called ``FX,'' was distributed at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in small vials for free to promote the new product, said LAPD narcotics Detective Trinka Porrata.

``The product looks incredibly safe because it's packaged very professionally,'' she said. ``Apparently, some of these people took as much as five vials.''

Police said that people who became ill New Year's Eve might have mixed FX with other drugs including, alcohol, ecstasy and LSD.

Some of the concertgoers were hospitalized in critical condition, but many of them have recovered, police said.

No one has been arrested in connection with FX, but the Los Angeles Police Department's Scientific Investigation Division is testing the substance to determine if it was made with any illicit drugs or gammahydroxybutyrate, a dangerous trendy designer drug.

If final test results indicate the presence of any controlled substances, criminal charges might be filed, according to police.

The FDA is also testing the concoction to determine its ingredients, said Jim O'Hara, a spokesman for the federal agency.

Tests could take several days, according to officials.

Biolife Bioproducts Ltd., a San Diego County-based company, lists all natural ingredients on FX's label, including kavakava, an extract from the root of the kava plant used as an aphrodisiac and a holistic remedy for colds and headaches, police said.

``FX is made for the people like you - those who are unafraid to challenge the assumptions of the everyday world and seek out new horizons,'' according to a copy of the label that police circulated. ``So distance yourself from the harsh chemical reality that surrounds us today and return to a more natural state.''

The label cautions that FX ``may cause nausea in some individuals'' and warns not to take it with any prescription or illicit drug or alcohol.

The company could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Some police officials warned Thursday that if kava is indeed one of the key ingredients in the substance, it could be dangerous.

``Just because it's not illegal doesn't mean it's safe,'' Porrata said.

``Kava's effects are consistent with central nervous system depressants,'' according to an LAPD press release. ``Taken in excessive amounts or with other drugs, kava is likely to produce the various symptoms seen in the victims from New Year's Eve.''

Dozens of concertgoers fainted or complained of nausea and dizziness. Some stopped breathing but were revived by paramedics, according to police.

LAPD officials have been able to determine that FX contains a high amount of caffeine.

O'Hara said it was not necessary for Biolife Bioproducts to have a food license to distribute its product because dietary supplements are not reviewed by the FDA.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 3, 1997
Words:487
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