Speaking on the Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Bill 2010 in the Seanad, Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson on Community, Senator Jerry Buttimer, said notwithstanding the cross-party support for the legislation, some of the measures taken by the Government to tackle the drugs problem have not worked and that Government policy on the wider issue of drugs and drug abuse are clearly wide of the mark.
“Any measure which clamps down on the sale of legal highs in head shops is to be welcomed. However, we have seen time and again that head shop owners remain one step ahead of the authorities in their creation of new substances that have yet to be blacklisted.
“It is vital that the Garda Síochána are given the resources needed in their fight against head shops and the proliferation of legal highs and we must go further by insisting on any product, which is for human consumption, being subject to scrutiny and approval from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland or Irish Medicines Board.
“It is incumbent upon us, as elected representatives to ensure that the legislation that is in place is solid enough to deal with the issue at hand. We must combat the drugs scourge collectively and address the rehabilitation pillar of the National Drug Strategy which has been somewhat neglected.
“Anyone who has a vision of a proper society will welcome the powers provided in this Bill to close head shops down. In order to avoid proprietors finding loopholes in the law, however, we must ensure that there is joined-up thinking on the matter between local authorities, the Health Service Executive and the Departments of Justice and Law Reform and Health and Children.
“Any study of the products sold in head shops will make support for this Bill compelling. I pay tribute to the many hundreds of parents across the country who have protested, lobbied and advocated for common sense. Fine Gael fully supports this Bill and looks forward to the day when we see the beginning of the end of head shops and succeed in putting them out of business once and for all.”