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Plans to clampdown on abuse of anti-anxiety drugs ready 'within months'

There are concerns over the growing quantity of these drugs being illegally sold.

Image: drugs via Shutterstock

PLANS FOR A clampdown on the abuse of anti-anxiety medication will be published in the coming months, it has been confirmed.

It is hoped the the new regulations will be finalised by the end of this year. The complex legislation had been previously been delayed.

The Misuse of Drugs Regulations will be scrutinised to allow for authorities to curtail the illicit trade in benzodiazepines and z-drugs medicines.

These drugs have a legitimate medical usage for treating anxiety, stress, insomnia, and a range of other conditions, with one of most well-known brands being Valium, but are also abused.

They have also been used as date rape drugs.

The Minister for Justice has said that illegal sale of these prescription drugs is seen as a problem in the Dublin city centre area.

During the first six weeks of Operation Spire, an initiative targeting drug dealing and anti-social behaviour on O’Connell Street, benzodiazepines were second only to heroin in quantities seized.

Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan questioned the Junior Minster for Health Kathleen Lynch earlier this week on the issue, and said that changes are needed to stop “high levels of open street dealing”.

Lynch said the planned measures will include “import and export controls, tighter prescribing and dispensing controls as well as an offence of possession, thereby assisting the law enforcement roles of Customs and An Garda Síochána”

She added that further work is required to finalised the new regulations, hoped to be completed by the end of this year. After which, they are subject to a three month EU notification period, due to the implications of the changes on the pharmaceutical market.

Read: Dublin’s drug situation hasn’t gotten worse, it’s just ‘shifted to other areas’ >

More: Gardaí seize more heroin than any other drug on O’Connell Street >

About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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