Irish policy on drugs

The effect of declaring a substance controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 (as amended), either in the Schedule to the Act or by Government Order, is to make it an offence to possess that substance. However, the Minister for Health may then make orders and regulations to give effect to the Government Decision by placing the substances which have been declared controlled into schedules, in accordance with Ireland’s obligations under international conventions. Different levels of control apply to substances in different schedules, based on the health risk, potential for misuse and validity of legitimate use. Section 4 allows the Minister to regulate which persons or groups of persons may possess a substance (e.g. pharmacists) and for which purposes. A breach of regulations made under section 4 results in an offence of possession. The Minister may make an order under Section 3 of the Act, thereby exempting from the offence of possession certain substances whose potential for abuse is considered low, these are primarily medicines with small quantities of active ingredients.
Assessment of trends and developments Cross Border