Head shop drugs worth €2m seized last year
Gardaí seized €2m worth of banned head shop drugs and nearly €330,000 worth of illicit prescription tablets last year.
Nearly 60kg and about 90,000 tablets containing psychoactive substances formerly sold in head shops were confiscated in 2011.
Sources said the scale of the haul highlighted the existence of a significant illegal market, which was replacing in part the massive legal trade in the drugs before their sale was banned in 2010.
Official figures seen by the Irish Examiner show 56,777kg of head shop drugs as well as 89,990 tablets were seized, worth an estimated €2m on the street. A breakdown of the figures includes:
* 30kg of synthetic cannabis, worth over €1m;
* Nearly 8kg of stimulant mephedrone, worth about €274,000;
* 16kg and 87,000 tablets containing other stimulants worth €584,000.
The stimulants mimic the effects of drugs like ecstasy, amphetamine, and cocaine.
Mephedrone was one of the most popular and notorious of drugs sold in head shops and was linked by both drug projects and gardaí to serious health and crime-related problems.
Seizures of other stimulants include: 12kg and almost 23,000 tablets of BZP; more than 20,000 2C-B tablets, which are a relatively new ecstasy-type drug; and 26,000 ephedrine tablets.
There were seizures of a range of other lesser- known stimulant powders and pills including MDPV, TFMPP, and PMAA.
The market for these psychoactive substances is constantly evolving and increasing.
Source: Cormac O’Keeffe, Irish Examiner, 11/07/12