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Home > 89. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health and Children her policy in relation to the availability of benzylpiperazine here; if the pills pose health risks.[4318/08]

[Oireachtas] 89. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Health and Children her policy in relation to the availability of benzylpiperazine here; if the pills pose health risks.[4318/08]. (07 Feb 2008)

URL: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2008/02/07/00088...


Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): The Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 and regulations made thereunder regulate and control the import, export, production, supply and possession of a range of named narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances listed in the Schedules to the Act. Substances are scheduled under the Act in accordance with the Department’s obligations under international conventions and/or where there is evidence that the substances are causing significant harm to public health in Ireland, which could merit the criminalisation of their sale and use. The Act also limits packaging and labelling of controlled drugs. The list of scheduled substances is kept under review on an ongoing basis. In particular, the Department reviews any evidence that substances are being abused and are causing significant harm to public health.

For example, in 2006 the law surrounding psychotropic (magic) mushrooms in their raw state was clarified in the light of evidence of increased availability and significant harm being done and it is now an offence to sell or possess magic mushrooms. Benzylpiperazine (BZP) is not currently a scheduled substance under Misuse of Drugs legislation, but its status is under advanced review. Following a risk assessment of BZP carried out at EU level by the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), the European Commission has asked the Council of Ministers to place BZP under control in accordance with the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances.

If the Council adopts the Commission’s proposal, Member States must act as soon as possible, but no later than one year from the date of the decision, to introduce control measures and criminal sanctions. Control measures and penalties are decided according to national laws which in turn comply with UN conventions. For Ireland, the introduction of national measures will involve declaring BZP to be a controlled substance under Irish Misuse of Drugs legislation and adding it to the schedule of controlled substances in accordance with that legislation. The Council of Ministers is expected to make its decision on the control of BZP in the near future.

Vol. 646 No. 3
Written Answers
Thursday, 7 February 2008

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