The drugs minister today demanded immediate action to ban legal highs being sold in so-called “head shops”.
John Curran said he was concerned over the health risks of stimulants known as party pills and that Ireland might become a dumping ground for the drugs after a number of them were outlawed in the UK.
It is believed dozens of head shops have opened in towns around the country in the last few months – some open until 4am at weekends and offering delivery service.
“The products that are being sold in head shops – I simply don’t want them sold in this country,” the minister said.
Mr Curran told the Regional Drugs Task Forces conference on legal highs that health minister Mary Harney has been asked to move on banning party pills under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
Last March Mrs Harney banned the stimulant BZP – designed as a cattle dewormer in the 1940s but recently sold as an alternative to ecstasy – amid a groundswell of complaints.
Mr Curran backed calls for bans on other legal highs such as Smoke XXX - promoted as “so close to the real thing” but “not for human consumption”.
“My view, and maybe people don‘t agree with me, but my view is that they pose an unnecessary risk,” he said.
“I think if you listen to health professionals talk of the evidence of people presenting in A&E, I simply don‘t want them sold.
“In that regard I‘d prefer to try to use legislation under the Misuse of Drugs and so forth to try to restrict them rather than to license them.”
Michael Ring, Fine Gael community affairs spokesman, warned lives could be lost if the Government dragged its feet.
“It is obvious that new substances quickly replace those that are banned and that these shops are adept at disguising the products they sell as something they’re not,” the Mayo TD said.
“The shops must be subject to specific regulation.”
Mr Ring said head shops were becoming more common in Ireland while other European countries such as Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden were taking action to ban some of the substances they sell.
He added: “Let’s not wait for tragedy to strike before we act.”
Read more: http://breakingnews.ie/ireland/minister-demands-ban-on-legal-highs-443537.html#ixzz0dkHRv4Au
26/01/2010 - 01/26/2010