327. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she is aware of a new strain of the drug cannabis that makes persons more violent; the current strategies used to combat drug-related crimes and violence; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42723/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I understand the Deputy's question to relate in part to the ongoing emergence of new synthetic cannabinoid type substances as witnessed here and abroad.
Undoubtedly the dynamic world market in new synthetic cannabinoid type substances, the effects of the use of which are still often unknown, presents key challenges for the international and national control mechanisms.
In this regard, it is the Department of Health which examines on an ongoing basis the need to bring emerging substances under the drug control framework provided by way of the Misuse of Drugs legislation.
As my colleague Minister of State Aodhán Ó Ríordáin T.D. has indicated work is under way in the Department of Health on the preparation of a Bill the purpose of which is to strengthen the Misuse of Drugs Act so as to clarify the provisions under which Ministerial orders and regulations are made, and which will facilitate the further controlling of new psychoactive substances when deemed necessary.
More generally, the Deputy will be aware that the Government's overall response to the problem of drug misuse is set out in the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016 which adopts a comprehensive and pillar based approach to the problem of drug misuse across the five pillars of drug supply reduction, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and research. The Strategy is being led out under the stewardship of my colleague Minister of State Ó Ríordáin T.D.
In targeting the problems of drug related crime and associated violence, An Garda Síochána is continuing to target individuals and organisations involved in the trafficking and distribution of psychoactive substances at all levels utilising the Misuse of Drugs legislation, the Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Act 2010 and the full range of criminal justice legislation underpinning the response of An Garda Síochána to serious crime, where applicable.
I can also advise the Deputy that under the National Drugs Strategy, An Garda Síochána have in partnership with the national community based Family Support Network organisation introduced a national reporting framework to strengthen the response in dealing with issues of drug related intimidation and violence experienced in our local communities.