Press Release

Minister for Health and Children announces immediate criminal ban on list of head shop products

The Minister for Health & Children, Mary Harney, T.D., announced today (Tuesday, 11 May 2010) that the Government has made an Order declaring a number of substances, commonly referred to as so-called ‘legal highs’, to be controlled drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977, with immediate effect. This follows approval by the relevant EU authorities.

“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

“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.

Appendix – List of Legal High Substances in Government Order

The following substances and products:

Synthetic Cannabinoids:
[2,3–Dihydro–5–methyl–3–(4–morpholinylmethyl)pyrrolo[1,2,3–de]–1,4–benzoxazin–6–yl]–1–naphthalenylmethanone
3–Dimethylheptyl–11–hydroxyhexahydrocannabinol
9-(Hydroxymethyl)–6,6–dimethyl–3–(2–methyloctan–2–yl)–6a,7,10,10a–tetrahydrobenzo[c]chromen–1–ol
[9–Hydroxy–6–methyl–3–[5–phenylpentan–2–yl]oxy–5,6,6a,7,8,9,10,10a-octahydrophenanthridin–1–yl]acetate

Any substance structurally derived from 3–(1–naphthoyl)indole or 1H–indol–3–yl–(1–naphthyl)methane by substitution at the nitrogen atom of the indole ring by alkyl, alkenyl, cycloalkylmethyl, cycloalkylethyl or 2–(4–morpholinyl)ethyl, whether or not further substituted in the indole ring to any extent and whether or not substituted in the naphthyl ring to any extent.

Any substance structurally derived from 3–(1–naphthoyl)pyrrole by substitution at the nitrogen atom of the pyrrole ring by alkyl, alkenyl, cycloalkylmethyl, cycloalkylethyl or 2–(4–morpholinyl)ethyl, whether or not further substituted in the pyrrole ring to any extent and whether or not substituted in the naphthyl ring to any extent.

Any substance structurally derived from 1–(1–naphthylmethyl)indene by substitution at the 3–position of the indene ring by alkyl, alkenyl, cycloalkylmethyl, cycloalkylethyl or 2–(4–morpholinyl)ethyl, whether or not further substituted in the indene ring to any extent and whether or not substituted in the naphthyl ring to any extent.

Any substance structurally derived from 3–phenylacetylindole by substitution at the nitrogen atom of the indole ring with alkyl, alkenyl, cycloalkylmethyl, cycloalkylethyl or 2–(4–morpholinyl)ethyl, whether or not further substituted in the indole ring to any extent and whether or not substituted in the phenyl ring to any extent.

Any substance structurally derived from 2–(3–hydroxycyclohexyl)phenol by substitution at the 5–position of the phenolic ring by alkyl, alkenyl, cycloalkylmethyl, cycloalkylethyl or 2–(4–morpholinyl)ethyl, whether or not further substituted in the cyclohexyl ring to any extent.

BZP Derivatives:

1-Benzylpiperazine or any substance structurally derived from 1–benzylpiperazine or 1–phenylpiperazine by modification in any of the following ways –
(i) by substitution at the second nitrogen atom of the piperazine ring with alkyl, benzyl, haloalkyl or phenyl groups;
(ii) by substitution in the aromatic ring to any extent with alkyl, alkoxy, alkylenedioxy, halide or haloalkyl groups.

Mephedrone & related Cathinones:

1-(1,3-Benzodioxol-5-yl)-2-(1-pyrrolidinyl)-pentanone
1-(2-Fluorophenyl)-2-methylaminopropan-1-one
1-(3-Fluorophenyl)-2-methylaminopropan-1-one
1-(4-Fluorophenyl)-2-methylaminopropan-1-one
Methcathinone
1-(4-Methoxyphenyl)-2-(methylamino)propan-1-one
2-Methylamino-1-(3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl)butan-1-one
2-Methylamino-1-(3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl)propan-1-one
1-(4-Methylphenyl)-2-methylaminopropan-1-one

GBL & 1,4 BD:

Butan-1,4-diol
Dihydrofuran-2(3H)-one (otherwise known as gamma-Butyrolactone)
This legislation also controls any stereoisomeric form of these substances, esters and ethers (where appropriate), salts, and preparations or products containing any proportion of these substances.