Government must keep on top of changing drug patterns - Ó Snodaigh
Commenting today on the growing availability and accessibility of mind altering drugs, including non-scheduled substances for sale in the Head Shop and other similar stores, Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD called on the Government to "keep on top of changing drug patterns of availability and use and in particular polly-drug use which can have complex and unpredictable consequences."
The Dublin South Central TD said, "A myth has found unjustified credence in recent times that the drugs that are increasingly available and taken these days are somehow safer drugs. But drugs are still killing our young people whether through overdose, medical implications, through the victims own actions under the influence of mind altering substances or indirectly as a result of the gangland feuds that build up around the highly lucrative illicit drugs market.
"Taking directly-related deaths alone, in April of this year officials from the CSO compiled unpublished data on the number of deaths by overdose between 1980 and 2003. They found that between 1980 and 2003 the number of deaths increased more than thirty-fold with deaths outside Dublin exceeding those within for the first time in 2003.
"It is absolutely essential that the government keep on top of changing drug patterns of availability and use and in particular polly-drug use which can have complex and unpredictable consequences. I welcome the prospect of an awareness campaign to be run by the Drugs Awareness Programme and the HSE and urge the government to ensure that this is prioritised and guaranteed funding to ensure it can have the greatest possible impact.
"And I am also calling on the government to immediately arrange for the Drugs Misuse Research Division of the Health Research Board to conduct an audit of all substances for sale in the Head Shop, and other such stores, against the possible health consequences of these and to produce a range of substance-by-substance recommendations including for the licensing and regulation of such drugs and providing for further drugs to be added to the schedule of prohibited substances where necessary. Following this first audit the shops should then be required to notify the Department of Health of any additional substances that it intends to sell." ENDS