These substances are dangerous and their sale and promotion have caused huge anxiety to families and communities throughout the country.” said the Minister.
“Their possession and supply are now illegal and subject to criminal sanction of:
- up to 7 years imprisonment and/or a fine for unlawful possession, and,
- on indictment, up to a maximum period of life imprisonment for unlawful supply.
“This means that the reckless, irresponsible people who have sold and promoted them must safely dispose of every product containing even one of the substances immediately. Otherwise they could face criminal prosecution. They cannot sell, supply, possess or distribute this stock, with effect from the start of today, 11th May.
“I am publishing the full list now in this press release and simultaneously on the Department of Health and Children’s website
"The main categories of substances involved have been published on our website since 3rd March.
“I am confident that An Garda Siochána will enforce this law rigorously.
“There have been ample reports in Ireland of persons suffering serious illnesses attributed to using some of these substances, and deaths have been reported in other countries, particularly where some of these substances were taken with alcohol or other substances.”
The list of the substances by common name is:
- synthetic cannabinoids (contained in SPICE products)
- benzylpiperazine (BZP) and piperazine derivatives
- mephedrone, methylone methedrone, butylone, flephedrone, and MDPV
- GBL and 1,4 BD
GBL and 1,4BD are legitimately used in a number of industries including in chemicals and pharmaceuticals. It will now be an offence to import, export, produce, supply or possess these substances where they are to be used for the purpose of human ingestion (other than as a flavouring in food).
The full list of the “legal high” substances in the Government Order is attached as an Appendix to this press release.
In March 2010, the draft Government Order was notified to the EU Commission under the Technical Standards Directives. This imposed a 3 month consultation period. However, due to increasing concern about the health risks associated with the use of “legal highs”, the Minister decided that an application should be made to the EU Commission to use an urgency procedure and introduce the legislation as quickly as possible. Yesterday (10 May) the EU Commission advised the Government that the legislation could be implemented without the need to await the expiration of the 3 month consultation period.
The Government Order also controls a number of other substances that are not “legal highs’’ but which have the potential to be misused. These include certain narcotic and psychotropic substances which Ireland is obliged to bring under control in order to comply with the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances.