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Home > 150. Deputy Paul Gogarty asked the Minister for Health and Children if there is any legal barrier to making certain combinations of substances illegal until they have been assessed by the EU and national regulatory authorities. [16665/10]

[Oireachtas] 150. Deputy Paul Gogarty asked the Minister for Health and Children if there is any legal barrier to making certain combinations of substances illegal until they have been assessed by the EU and national regulatory authorities. [16665/10]. (27 Apr 2010)

External website: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2010/04/27/00157...


Misuse of drugs

150. Deputy Paul Gogarty asked the Minister for Health and Children if there is any legal barrier to making certain combinations of substances illegal until they have been assessed by the EU and national regulatory authorities in order that products are dangerous until proven safe, rather than the other way around; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
 
179. Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the operation of a head shop directly opposite a secondary school (details supplied) in Dublin 6; the action that she plans to take to address the concerns expressed by the parents of the children attending this school; when she plans to introduce the appropriate legislation to regulate both the operation of these head shops and the products sold there.
 
196. Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to ban the drug 4-MTA; if this drug is to be included in the list of substances due to be banned in June 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
 
197. Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Health and Children the list of substances to be banned in June 2010; the legislation that will govern this measure; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
 
204. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children, in view of the serious circumstances of a health nature that may arise, her plans to introduce legislation, or if present legislation requires outlets such as head shops to carry indemnifying insurance to cover the sale of products for personal use; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
 
Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 150, 179, 196, 197 and 204 together.
In the light of the health risks associated with some of the products being sold in so-called “head shops”, the Government has agreed to the introduction of regulations under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 which will introduce controls on a range of substances which are currently on sale in head shops. The substances concerned include:
• synthetic cannabinoids (SPICE products);
• benzylpiperazine (BZP) derivatives;
• mephedrone, methylone and related cathinones;
• 4-methylthioamphetamine (4-MTA);
• GBL and 1,4 BD.
 
In accordance with EU law, it is necessary to notify the European Commission of the proposed regulations and this imposes a 3 month stand-still period on the making of the regulations. The regulations were notified in early April and allowing for the stand-still period will be implemented at end June/early July. Following the introduction of the regulations, the possession and sale of these substances, other than GBL and 1,4BD, will be illegal and subject to criminal sanctions under the Misuse of Drugs Act while the possession and sale of the latter substances will be confined to use in legitimate industrial processes only.
 
With regard to the suggestion that all substances sold in Headshops should be deemed to be illegal until they have been assessed by the authorities, this is not possible under current legislation. However, my colleagues the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform are urgently examining a range of possible approaches to the regulation of head shops. This may involve making it a criminal offence to supply unregulated psychotropic substances.
 
Vol. 707 No. 3
Written Answers – Misuse of Drugs
Tuesday, 27 April 2010

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