Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 65 - Substance abuse [Herbal ecstasy] [32596/07].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 65 - Substance abuse [Herbal ecstasy] [32596/07]. (05 Dec 2007)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/dail/2...

65. Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views in relation to the usage of herbal ecstasy; the research available to him in relation to the matter; if he has had meetings with the Department of Health and Children or the Health Service Executive in relation to the matter; the results of such meetings if they took place; if guidelines are intended in relation to the use of herbal ecstasy. [32596/07]

Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Pat Carey): I have serious concerns over the safety of herbal ecstasy and other such substances. While I know that many people believe that such products are safe because they can be bought over the counter, there are no guarantees in that regard. Users of such substances have reported a range of adverse reactions such as vomiting, headache, palpitations, poor appetite, stomach pains/ nausea, anxiety, insomnia, mood swings, confusion, irritability and tremors. The Department of Health & Children has responsibility for keeping the list of scheduled substances under review on an ongoing basis. In particular, they review any evidence that substances are being abused and are causing significant harm to public health. The issue of BZP (Benzylpiperazine – a synthetic psychotropic substance), the active ingredient of herbal ecstasy, was raised at meetings of the Inter Departmental Group on Drugs in March and September this year and I also raised the issue briefly with the Minister for Health & Children at a meeting on 27 July last. It has also been the subject of periodic discussion between officials of our two Departments over the past few months. These discussions were in the context of EU consideration of the substance. While BZP is currently not a controlled substance under Misuse of Drugs legislation,

I understand that Ireland was among the countries that requested the European Council, in March 2007, to conduct a risk assessment procedure on the substance and we advocated tighter controls in this regard. In this context, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction completed its investigation in June and reported back to the Commission recommending tighter controls. Arising from this, the Commission decided to ask the Council to place BZP under control, in accordance with the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The Council will decide over the coming months if BZP is to be placed under such control. If the decision is to place BZP under control, Member States would then be required to introduce controls in line with national laws no later than one year after the Council’s decision. Responsibility for implementing any such decision rests with the Department of Health & Children. I can assure the Deputy that both my officials and I will continue to raise issues of concern about various drugs, with the relevant authorities, as they arise.

Vol. 643 No. 1 Written Answers Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Repository Staff Only: item control page