Before any substance is banned the Government must first:
- identify and research it, and
- determine that it is a risk and should be banned.
In May 2010 the following groups of drugs were banned under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977:
- synthetic cannabinoids – sold as herbal smoke or incense, as an alternative to cannabis.
- BZP and derivatives – sold as party pills, as an alternatives to ecstasy and amphetamine.
- Mephedrone and derivatives – sold as bath salts or plant foods, as an alternative to cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamine.
The Ban under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 means it is illegal to import, export, produce, supply or possess any of these drugs. Find out more about the Misuse of Drugs Act on the Department of Health and Children's website
In 2010 the Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Act was published which provided for: the sale or supply of substances which are not specifically proscribed under the Misuse of Drugs Acts, but which have psychoactive effects, for human consumption will be a criminal offence.
The Act gives appropriate powers to the Garda Síochána and the Courts to intervene quickly to prevent outlets from selling these products by way of appropriate prohibition orders. The Scheme also contains full search and seizure powers for the Gardaí and Revenue’s Customs Service.
New psychoactive substances can quickly emerge, therefore, the Scheme provides a general criminal justice response to deal with the supply of new psychoactive substances as they emerge. The Scheme operates in addition to the Misuse of Drugs Acts controls.
The activities of head shops are being closely monitored on an ongoing basis by An Garda Síochána and Revenue’s Customs Service, with a view to ensuring that no illegal substances are being sold.