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Home > 123. Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will restrict public availability of chemicals such as mephedrone. [2755/10]

[Oireachtas] 123. Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will restrict public availability of chemicals such as mephedrone. [2755/10]. (21 Jan 2010)

External website: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2010/01/21/00114...


Pharmacy Regulations

123. Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will restrict public availability of chemicals such as mephedrone; if the Misuse of Drugs Acts and the scheduling of poison under the Pharmacy Acts be used to cover chemicals such as mephedrone; if she is in a position to restrict access to headshops by young teenagers who freely avail of these products.
 
137. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the discussions (details supplied) that she has had to date regarding the proliferation of head shops here; the steps which she is taking to address potential health risks and dangers involved in the consumption of the products on sale in such outlets; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
 
149. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to regulate the establishment of head shops that sell herbal products and chemical based party and energy pills; the measures she will take to control the sale of these products to minors; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
 
Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 123, 137 and 149 together.
 
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 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 so-called ‘head shops’, including those containing the chemical Mephedrone, 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 headshops. The Department of Health and Children 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 headshops. The Department is currently reviewing this legislation to ascertain how similar controls could be introduced in Ireland. The Misuse of Drugs legislation is the most appropriate regulatory framework for regulating substances such as Mephedrone that have the potential to be abused.
 
Vol. 699 No. 3  
Written Answers – Pharmacy Regulations
Thursday, 21 January 2010

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