Head shops pose obvious dangers and must be regulated – Deere

Castlebar Fine Gael town councillor and youth worker Ger Deere said it is blindingly obvious that head shops which have sprung up all over the country require strict regulation because of the dangers of the products they sell. Cllr Deere said products which have emerged to replace BZP, which was banned last year, must also be banned if they have psychoactive and other side effects.

“At least one of the callers to RTÉ’s Liveline programme yesterday [Monday] has lost a family member apparently to the side effects of one of the so-called ‘legal highs’ available in head shops. Several people have told me of the lasting and distressing impact such products had on the behaviour and mental wellbeing of their children. It is blindingly obvious we have a serious problem here and no community has been immune to the proliferation of head shops,” said a concerned Cllr Deere.

“The items on sale in these shops are disguised as innocuous lifestyle products but in reality they are mind-altering substances designed to replicate the effects of illegal drugs, like coke and speed.  

“It is not good enough that these dangerous drugs are allowed to slip under the radar. Regulation must be the answer and the Government must make new moves in this direction. Planning law can also play a part by applying stringent tests before permission for such shops is granted.

“It is also clear that new ingredients and products have emerged to replace BZP, which was banned last year. The Health Minister must examine these new substances in the same way as BZP, so that they too can be considered for a ban, as has already happened in the case of one such ingredient, mephedrone, in Sweden, Denmark, and Israel.”


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