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Home > 446. Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Health and Children the substances that have been added to the list of scheduled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977. [1612/10]

[Oireachtas] 446. Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Health and Children the substances that have been added to the list of scheduled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977. [1612/10]. (19 Jan 2010)

URL: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2010/01/19/00291...


National Drugs Strategy

446. Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Health and Children the substances that have been added to the list of scheduled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 on the basis of evidence that these substances were being abused or were causing significant harm to the public health in each of the past three years; 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 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 or in accordance with decisions of the European Union 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.
 
On 31 March 2009, BZP was declared to be a controlled drug for the purposes of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 and its possession and sale are now illegal. No other substance has been declared to be a controlled drug in the past three years.
 
447. Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Health and Children the proposals she has to ban so-called “head shops” (details supplied); 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 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’ often referred to as ‘legal highs’ are in general 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. 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 head shops. The Department is currently reviewing this legislation to ascertain how similar controls could be introduced in Ireland.
 
Vol. 699 No. 1  
Written Answers – National Drugs Strategy
Tuesday, 19 January 2010

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