Further tests needed to outlaw 'legal highs'
WORK has yet to be completed on the full list of 'legal highs' sold in controversial head shops which will be banned by the summer.
The Department of Health said last night that its chief pharmacist was examining the full range of products which are set to be classed as controlled drugs but that list had not yet been finalised.
A spokesperson said that the list would have to include all chemical compounds and derivatives and some of the products could involve further tests.
The substances concerned include a range of products sold in so-called 'head shops', including synthetic cannabinoids (SPICE products), benzylpiperazine (BZP) derivatives, and mephedrone.
They also include ketamine and tapentadol which are substances that have legitimate uses as medicines but which can be subject to misuse.
However, Fine Gael's health spokesman Dr James Reilly said the ban was only part of the solution.
He called for all head shops to be licensed and to pay an annual fee of €100,000.
Substances that did not fall under the ban should be independently scrutinised and passed by an independent body such as the Irish Medicines Board or Food Safety Authority.
He also said such shops should only be allowed operate in certain areas and during certain hours.