Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 187 - Legislative programme [benzodiazepines, z-drugs] [6395/15].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 187 - Legislative programme [benzodiazepines, z-drugs] [6395/15]. (12 Feb 2015)

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187. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health if he will provide an update on the development of the review of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations that are aimed at introducing stricter controls on benzodiazepines and z-drugs, non-benzodiazepines; the stage the draft legislation is at; the revised timeframe for enactment of the legislation; the reason there has been such a lengthy delay in developing the legislation; the extra treatment and rehabilitation resources that will be put in place to support persons who suddenly find they can no longer access these drugs, through illicit and-or prescribed sources, thus facing acute withdrawal; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [6395/15]


Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): My Department is reviewing the Misuse of Drugs Regulations with a view to introducing substantial additional controls on certain prescription drugs being traded illicitly, such as benzodiazepines and z-drugs medicines.


The draft Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Regulation being prepared is the most substantial amendment proposed to the Regulations since they were made in 1988 and involves a major overhaul of certain provisions so as to ensure that regulatory policy addresses international obligations and the evolution of current practice in the use of controlled drugs within the health system. As expected with any major overhaul of regulatory policy, different views have been expressed by different stakeholders in submissions on certain proposals and the work required to complete the necessary amendments is complex and technical in nature.


In addition, you may be aware that there has been a legal challenge to a section of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977, with a consequent prioritisation for the Department of work relating to this matter.


The objective is to finalise the text of the amending Regulations in the coming months. Once the Regulations are finalised, they are subject to a 3 month EU notification period under the Technical Standards Directive, because of the implications of the proposed regulatory changes on trade in pharmaceutical products.


The HSE addiction services provide a comprehensive substance treatment service oriented towards those with polydrug issues. Problem drug users attending addiction services who are dependent on benzodiazepines or other z-drugs, will also have these issues addressed as part of their treatment.

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