Pubdate: Thu, 15 Aug 2013
Source: Irish Times, The (Ireland)
Copyright: 2013 The Irish Times
Author: Kitty Holland
Page: 1


Doctors will be allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis under
regulations likely to be introduced this year.

It is also to become an offence to possess certain prescription drugs
without authorisation. This is in an effort to address the spiralling
problem of open dealing in benzodiazepines and other tranquilliser

Minister of State for Primary Care Alex White has issued consultation
documents on his plans and is seeking submissions by the end of the

However, the proposals are likely to be welcomed by interested parties
who have been seeking such changes for a number of years. They would
also bring Ireland into line with other EU states and into compliance
with obligations under a number of UN resolutions.

According to explanatory notes, Mr White said he planned to "amend the
regulations to allow a newly authorised medicinal product containing
cannabis extract to be prescribed, supplied and used by patients. The
product Sativex (nabiximols) has been authorised in other EU member
states for the relief of symptoms of spasticity in multiple sclerosis".

He also plans to strengthen controls on the import, export and
possession of benzodiazepines and "z" drugs. Both benzodiazepines and
z drugs act as tranquillisers. So-called benzos include Diazepam,
Ativan and Temazepam, while the z drugs include Zaleplon, Zolpidem and
Zopiclone. Dealers typically obtain these drugs over the internet.

The dealing of these drugs in urban centres is now acknowledged as a
serious problem.