Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 138 - National Drugs Strategy [Head shops] [9431/10].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 138 - National Drugs Strategy [Head shops] [9431/10]. (24 Feb 2010)

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138. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will order an immediate inventory into the products sold in head shops; if she will check whether these products comply with existing legislation; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): 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. The list of scheduled substances is kept under ongoing review. For example, in 2006 psychotropic (‘magic’) mushrooms 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.
I am aware of the products being sold as “legal highs” in so-called “head shops” and that these products are not controlled under Misuse of Drugs legislation. In the light of the health risks associated with some of the products being sold in so-called ‘head shops’, I intend to have the regulations drafted this month which will introduce controls, similar to those introduced recently in the UK, on a range of substances which are currently on sale in head shops. In accordance with EU law, it may also be necessary to notify the Commission of the proposed regulations in case they impact on legitimate industrial activities and this imposes a 3 month stand still period on implementation of the regulations. These regulations will make the possession and sale of these substances illegal and subject to criminal sanctions. Some of the substances in question have legitimate uses — for example, in the production of plastics and industrial solvents. It will be necessary to assess the level of use of these substances by industry in Ireland and the implications for industry of placing these substances under the ambit of Misuse of Drugs legislation.
Vol. 703 No. 2  
Written Answers – National Drugs Strategy
Wednesday, 24 February 2010

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