Planning & licensing issues still left unresolved
Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson on Community, Senator Jerry Buttimer, today (Wednesday) said the banning of products sold in ‘head shops’, due to come into effect in June, to deal with the ‘legal highs’ sold there is to be welcomed but it will do nothing to resolve issues around the licensing, and continued existence, of such establishments.
“Head shops have sprung up in every town and village in Ireland and the ‘legal highs’ they sell are posing untold problems for our young people, many of whom may not be fully aware of exactly how dangerous the products are.
“While the introduction of this long awaited legislation is to be welcomed, loopholes remain that will enable shops to continue to supply harmful alternative substances down the line. Furthermore, ‘head shops’ are renowned for their resourcefulness so unless steps are taken to deal adequately with them, it is entirely likely the root of the problem will remain.
“Tough and comprehensive legislation to tackle the planning and licensing of head shops, and to monitor the sale of legal highs in the future, is essential if the nub of the issue is to be dealt with.
“Five individuals were reportedly examined at the Mercy Hospital one weekend following adverse reactions to ‘legal highs’. The risks to our young people posed by these shops are immense. While the Minister for Health’s decision to place a ban on further products being sold in head shops under the Misuse of Drugs Act is to be welcome, her efforts may be in vain unless she tackles all the problems surrounding their proliferation.”