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Minister backs drugs legislation

Operators of head shops “can duck but they can’t hide”, Minister for Community Affairs Pat Carey has said.

Speaking at a HSE launch of a national campaign to highlight the dangers of one-time “legal highs” and other drugs, Mr Carey said the Psychoactive Substances Bill, which passed all stages of the Oireachtas yesterday and will now be passed to the President for signing into law, was robust.

“I’m under no illusions about the ingenuity of some of these operators to try and get around this legislation but there are very strong powers conferred upon the gardaí within the legislation which will make it extremely difficult,” he said.

“We believe the measures we have taken are robust enough and will be capable of meeting any legal challenge which I think inevitably will be tried. If we do need to bring in any further measures we will do that.”

He said the legislation “goes a long way” to making it difficult for such drugs to be purchased online while the actions of the Revenue, the Garda, Europol and Interpol added “another piece of armour” in stopping such drugs entering the country.

He said that the Government had taken a three-pronged approach to drugs legislation in the ban on legal highs: the ban of such substances through the Misuse of Drugs Act, the subsequent Psychoactive Substances Bill and now the HSE awareness campaign which he said was “critical” in creating awareness .

Speaking at the launch Una Geary, a consultant in emergency medicine at St James’s hospital said misconceptions surrounding “legal highs” must be clearly dispelled.

“These substances are potential poisons, that is a fact,” she said.

She added that a significant number of patients have required ongoing psychiatric care as a result of taking these drugs.

Source: Pamela Duncan, The Irish Times, 08/07/2010

Posted by Andy on 07/08 at 08:24 AM in Legal and illegal highs
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