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Home > 263. Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of head shops here; if the opening of these shops is regulated;[3101/10]

[Oireachtas] 263. Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of head shops here; if the opening of these shops is regulated;[3101/10]. (26 Jan 2010)

URL: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2010/01/26/00118...


326.  Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children  her views on regulating head shops to protect young persons from substances which may be dangerous to their health; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3650/10]

335.  Deputy Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to publish statutory instruments under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1984 on extending the list of prohibited substances; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3719/10]

 

Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 263, 326 and 335 together.

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 and its associated regulations 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 Ireland’s obligations under international conventions and/or where there is evidence that the substances are causing significant harm to public health in Ireland.

Items available for sale in head shops, and which are often referred to as ‘legal highs’, are substances which are not currently controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation. The list of scheduled substances is kept under ongoing review. For example, in 2006 psychotropic (‘magic’) mushrooms, which were on sale in such outlets, were banned and their possession and sale is now illegal. On 31 March 2009, BZP was similarly subjected to legislative control measures and criminal sanctions. Minister John Curran, Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, who has responsibility for co-ordinating the National Drugs Strategy, has identified head shops as an area of concern, and is currently considering the options available to more effectively control the activities of head shops.

Under the National Advisory Committee on Drugs, a Research Advisory Group has been established to identify possible options for the regulation of head shops and the Department is actively participating in this process. In the UK, legislation was introduced immediately before Christmas to control a number of substances and groups of substances that have been on sale in head shops. The Department is currently reviewing this legislation to ascertain how similar controls could be introduced in Ireland. My Department does not have information in relation to the number of head shops which are operating in Ireland.

Vol. 700 No. 1
Written Answers
Tuesday, 26 January 2010

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