Head Shops Close as Drug Ban Begins

This report appeared in the Irish Examiner and is accurate. This blanket ban will suit Dermot Ahern. It will make him look like an active muscular Justice Minister getting at the illicit drugs industry. The objective verdict on this law will only be available when the effect on the population is observed and quantified. This will require the supply of a mephedrone analysis service to professionals dealing with users presenting either acutely out-of-their-heads or voluntarily for help at detoxification or councelling services. It should not be quantified by the number of times an A&E doctor suspects that such an illegal substance is the cause of a particular constellation of symptoms and the drugs information service is contacted or ToxBase searched.

My information at present is that drugs councillors have been inundated with people seriously damaged by head shop products. That is why I am really concerned with what will happen next. These users are unlikely to stop but will now criminalise themselves. the futile war on drugs will continue and the armed gangs will get worse by desensitizing themselves to murder. That desensitisation has already happened for many so-called hitmen. Some of the things that I hear are very distressing as they indicate that murders will continue. My view is that better communication with local communities from the gardai should happen. Policing is about crime prevention as well as prosecutions. If a lot more information was posted on local criminals and thugs on the net for everyone to read then a fairer picture would be seen of police activity. For example, I saw about 3 cop cars and 2 police white vans around the D11 area to night so the place is being heavily policed. That level of activity is appropriate given the murderous nature of recent crimes in this area. Violence is shocking and protection of life and limb is a basic requirment fo the state in a civilised society. Knives and guns and intimidation and threats often for small amounts of money is the order of the day. Some people have short and brutish lives.

More on that subject again.

Head shops close as drug ban begins

By Cormac O’Keeffe

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

HEAD shops across the country were closed yesterday on day one of a “blanket ban” on mind-altering drugs.

Garda sources said reports from 12 Garda divisions across the country at 5pm yesterday indicated that no head stores had opened. Gardaí expect to have a full picture by later today.

They said the “vast majority” of head shop owners had indicated before yesterday that they had decided to shut up shop for good.

In Dublin, the biggest and most popular head shops had their shutters pulled down with signs saying they had closed.

The Dublin Head Store in Temple Bar had a closing- down sale in the run-up to the commencement of laws yesterday outlawing the sale of psychoactive substances or mind-altering drugs.

A sign thanked customers for their business and blamed negative media coverage and “public hysteria” for the closure of their store.

The Nirvana store on South William Street, which did a booming trade at weekends was also shut, with a sign saying “closed until further notice”.

The Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Act 2010 came into force just after midnight yesterday, making the sale of psychoactive substances a criminal offence, punishable by up to five years in prison.

It empowers the gardaí to issue prohibition notices to owners against selling suspected substances, which can lead to prohibition orders and even closure orders in the courts.

Gardaí attached to drug units across the country visited all 39 head shops last week and told them the act would be in place and enforced by them on Monday.

Garda sources said the “vast majority” had indicated they did not intend to continue trading given the tiny number of products they could still sell.

Last May, before a ban on certain products was brought in, there were 102 head shops in the country.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said: “This act is indicative of my determination that those who engage in the sale of unregulated psychoactive substances for human consumption will not be allowed to escape the rigours of the law.

“The sale of such substances, especially to the younger members of our society, is a dangerous trade which operates without regard to the consequences for the health and safety of its customers or of society generally.”

This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Tuesday, August 24, 2010