The Government has banned a range of substances being sold as legal highs in so-called head shops, it has emerged.
The possession and sale of six items, including ketamine and BZP derivatives, will be illegal from June under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said the legislation will come into effect after the three-month period required under the European Technical Standards Directive.
John Curran, junior minister with responsibility for the national drugs strategy, is also considering the options available to more effectively control the activities of head shops in consultation with the Department of Health and Children, the Garda Siochana and other relevant statutory agencies, she added.
Youth Work Ireland said the new law was a good start but warned a number of other products will still be for sale.
"Of course the proscribing of substances which are to all intents and purposes identical to BZP is welcome but it really only represents a catching up process where a more proactive approach is needed," said spokesman said Michael Mc Loughlin.
"There are many more substances which have question marks raised about them.
"There will also be consequences from proscribing these substances and the Government needs to show it is taking measures to anticipate these. The might include for example greater attempts to import products, attempts at home production and more internet trade." Traders have faced mounting pressure from angry communities in recent months as scores of head shops open in towns across the country.