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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 236 - Misuse of drugs [23886/17] [Fentanyl].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 236 - Misuse of drugs [23886/17] [Fentanyl]. (18 May 2017)

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236. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a nationwide growth in the supply and usage of the drug fentanyl, an opioid believed to be 100 times more potent than heroin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23886/17]

 

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid and has legitimate medical use in anaesthesia and analgesia. Fentanyls are extremely potent and even the smallest amount of the substance can cause overdose and death. Fentanyl may also be absorbed through the skin. The effects of the drug may be indistinguishable from Heroin, meaning that Heroin users may be at risk of unwittingly consuming this substance.

 

The Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2017, made under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 to 2016, are the primary legislative instrument regulating the import, export, manufacture, production, prescribing, supply, possession and administration of controlled drugs. The Regulations categorise controlled drug substances into five schedules (ranging from the most tightly controlled in Schedule 1 to the least tightly controlled in Schedule 5). Under the Regulations Fentanyl is a Schedule 2 substance. I am informed that the Health Service Executive ( HSE) last issued an alert for Fentanyl on 28 July 2016, arising from a number of drug-related deaths in Dublin and Cork. The HSE has not issued any further alerts since then, as there is no evidence to suggest this substance is currently in circulation in this jurisdiction. However, the HSE remain vigilant for the possibility of Fentanyl entering circulation in Ireland.

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