The drug mephedrone, linked to the death of two teenage friends in England, will remain legal here until June because the Government is unable to fast-track laws to ban it.
The popular stimulant, sold as plant food in Headshops across the country, is already illegal in Norway, Finland and Germany.
It can be bought in Headshops for as little as €10 and can also be bought over the internet. The drug, which earlier this month was linked to a violent seizure in a 17-year-old girl from Bray, Co Wicklow, has also been linked to the deaths of Louis Wainwright (19) and Nicholas Smith (19), in Scunthorpe, England, this week.
John Curran, the junior minister with responsibility for our drugs strategy, has explained that in banning these substances, Ireland must comply with a number of EU directives and give three months' notice.
Mephedrone is seen as an alternative to Ecstasy and cocaine. Users say they feel more alert, confident and talkative. Like cocaine, the affects appear to last for around an hour.