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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 439. Drugs crime [39741/13].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 439. Drugs crime [39741/13]. (24 Sep 2013)

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439. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the advertising and sale of certain drugs (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39741/13] 

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): The emergence of new psychoactive substances specifically designed to circumvent drug controls has been a matter of particular concern in recent years both here in Ireland and at international level. In Ireland this trend became particularly evident in the rapid growth in headshop outlets during the period 2009 to 2010. The prevalence of these substances in Ireland was the subject of a report published in July 2011 by the National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol (NACDA) entitled "An Overview of New Psychoactive Substances and the outlets supplying them".
 
In tackling the problem, a number of measures were introduced in this jurisdiction. These measures included education and awareness raising initiatives informing the public and particularly our young people of the potential dangers of the use of substances which were on sale in headshops or available online. In addition, a number of specific legislative measures have been introduced to target the trade in these substances.
 
In particular, the Department of Health, in the period 2010 to 2011, brought in excess of 250 such substances under the controls of the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977 and 1984. This legislation prohibits the unauthorised sale and/or supply of all controlled substances, including any advertising of such trade and also prohibits any unauthorised importation of controlled substances including where such activity is facilitated by the Internet.
 
I am further advised that the Department of Health are currently finalising regulations which will bring a number of further such unregulated substances under the controls of that legislation.
 
In addition, the Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Act 2010 was brought into effect. This legislation introduced further criminal justice measures targeting the trade in unregulated psychoactive substances. It introduced offences relating to the illegal sale, import and export of such substances in circumstances where a person knows or is reckless as to whether that substance is being acquired or supplied for human consumption. In addition, it introduced a prohibition on the advertising of any such trade including where this may be conducted online.
 
I can assure the Deputy that An Garda Síochána is committed to investigating any breaches of legislation arising from the availability on the internet of products traditionally sold by ‘head shops’. Garda authorities have informed me that An Garda Síochána is maintaining a liaison with the enforcement section of the Irish Medicines Board and the Customs authorities regarding the issue of online drug sales. Furthermore, An Garda Síochána, in partnership which its European counterparts, is constantly monitoring the sale of all drugs via the internet in order to identify emerging trends and patterns.

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