Dáil Éireann - Volume 658 - 01 July, 2008

Written Answers. - Misuse of Drugs Act.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on adding party drugs such as BZP to the list of controlled substances under the misuse of Drugs Acts in view of their growing proliferation here and of EU proposals; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25914/08]

  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.

The list of scheduled substances is kept under review; in particular, my Department reviews any evidence that substances are being abused and are causing significant harm to public health.

Benzlpiperazine (BZP) is not currently a scheduled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act. However, a risk assessment of new psychoactive substances carried out by the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction has found that the use of BZP can lead to medical problems even if the long term effects of the substance are still unknown. Against this background, the European Council decided in March 2008 to place BZP under control in accordance with the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Member States must act as soon as possible, but no later than one year from the date of the decision, to introduce [213] control measures and criminal sanctions. Work is underway in my Department with a view to introducing the necessary control measures here.