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Home > 65. Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will direct the Irish Medicines Board to investigate the product WHACK. [27285/10]

[Oireachtas] 65. Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will direct the Irish Medicines Board to investigate the product WHACK. [27285/10]. (24 Jun 2010)

External website: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2010/06/24/00071...


Misuse of drugs

Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will direct the Irish Medicines Board to investigate the product WHACK (details supplied), and those who supply it; if she will provide an update on the IMB investigation of the product Amplified; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27285/10]
 
Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): In light of the health risks associated with the consumption of a number of substances commonly referred to as ’legal highs’ and which were on sale in head shops, the Government made an Order on 11 May declaring a large number of these substances to be controlled drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977, with immediate effect. Approximately 200 individual substances were controlled by this legislation and it is now a criminal offence for a person to import, export, produce, supply or possess these legal high substances. This legislation has had a significant impact on headshops, removing the vast majority of their products from the market, and as a consequence a large number of headshops have closed.
 
The Government has always acknowledged that attempts would be made to circumvent these regulations. Since these substances were brought under control, other substances have been coming onto the market that are currently not subject to controls under the Misuse of Drugs Act. My Department is working closely with the Department of Justice and Law Reform, the Gardaí, the Customs Service, the Forensic Science Laboratory, the Irish Medicines Board, and others to monitor closely the emergence of new psychoactive substances. I will not hesitate to seek Government approval to ban additional substances if any of them pose a risk to public health.
 
Initial analyses indicate that the products ’WHACK’ and ’Amplified’ contain new cocaine-type substances. As these substances have anaesthetic effects they may be considered to fall within the scope of the medicinal products legislation. These products do not hold licences from the IMB or the European Medicines Agency. The IMB has been inspecting head shops and taking action to have these, and products similarly considered to fall within the scope of the medicinal products legislation, removed from the market. My colleague the Minister for Justice and Law Reform last Friday published the Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Bill 2010. This bill will make it a criminal offence to sell or supply substances which may not be specifically controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Acts but which have psychoactive effects.
 
Vol. 713 No. 3  
Written Answers – Misuse of Drugs
24 July 2010

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