An assistant state pathologist has recently revealed that synthetic drugs have become strikingly common as the cause for sudden unexpected deaths throughout the country.
Furthermore, one particular synthetic drug, U-4, was named by a HSE consultant psychiatrist as the cause for over 50 deaths since 2015.
As a result of this unfortunate phenomenon, it is clear that new measures need to be introduced. Fines and community service sentences are not enough to deter those distributing and selling these substances.
These forms of drug are extremely dangerous and we need to get to grips with preventing their circulation.
We thought we had solved this problem in 2010 when a list of synthetic drugs were banned under the The Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Act 2010 and the Misuse of Drugs Act, but there is clearly still work to be done. This is an urgent matter in the interests of the wellbeing of Irish society.
Increased efforts are urgently needed to stop these drugs getting into the hands of dealers. Furthermore, I am calling for tougher measures to be taken against those convicted of selling and possessing these illegal synthetic drugs.