Six children recently ended up in the Karlovy Vary Regional Hospital after overdosing on gelatin teddy bears with HHC. In the past, other dangerous substances were popular with children. A group of MPs is therefore trying to ensure that children do not officially get their hands on it at all. “With our proposal, we shift the responsibility to the government, which – when a new dangerous substance appears – will be able to react quickly,” MP Martina Ochodnická (TOP 09) says in an interview with Deník.
Preparations with HHC offered in vending machines. illustrative photo
| Photo: Deník/Jana Kopecká
After kratom or nicotine pouches, gummy bears are another popular product that is dangerous for children. What do you think about it?
It is clear that new and new such substances will continue to appear. Also, that manufacturers and distributors will always be ahead of us. But I am disappointed that although I have been debating with them since the beginning of the election period and they promise to self-regulate and not target children, the result is always the opposite. Hello Kitty packaging began to appear for energy drinks, nicotine sachets they have flavors that we would never buy as adults because we wouldn’t like them. It’s the same with teddy bears. At the same time, Western Europe shows us that manufacturers and distributors know how to behave solidly. Even here, honor makes exceptions. But many go to pure business. That was a hard hit for me.
WE WRITTEN: Gummy bears with dangerous HHC are a new hit among children:
Kratom, energy and now teddy bears with HHC. Children have no idea what they are risking by eating candy
Last year, you and your colleagues advocated that nicotine sachets should not be sold to children and adolescents. Since last July, it has also not been possible to sell them in medical facilities, schools and vending machines. Is it a shift?
During recent inspections, the State Agricultural Inspection found that over seventy percent of online sellers do not comply with the obligation to check identity cards and the age of buyers. From that moment on, I no longer hear the word self-regulation. The topic needs to be moved on. I know that whatever legislation we pass, the problem will not go away. Nevertheless, another proposal that my colleagues and I presented last year is crucial for me. It shifts the responsibility to the government, which – when a new dangerous substance appears – will be able to react quickly.
Martina Ochodnická (TOP 09).Source: ČTK
If the proposal is approved, in addition to the current list of prohibited substances, another one will be created, which will gradually include psychoactive and psychomodulating substances that cannot get into the hands of children, but adults can. You plan to approve the empty list, specific substances will be gradually added to it based on the recommendations of experts. So will it go without delay?
There is a department at the Government Office whose employees monitor various substances, even when they are abroad. They know they will probably get to us too. Together with the State Institute of Health, possibly also World Health Organization and other experts, would therefore be able to react very quickly. They would assess whether to ban the given substance, which is already possible today, or to add it to the list of controlled substances. The government then issues a regulation.
DO NOT MISS: Hazardous substance HHC. Intoxicated people experience impaired consciousness, mood swings, aggression or nausea:
Five children ended up in the Karlovy Vary hospital. They ate gummy bears with HHC
So what is the advantage of the new proposal?
If the proposal passes, experts will assess the degree of risk of a particular substance. As much as it threatens health and possibly even lives. That is, whether it should be inaccessible to everyone, like meth, or whether adults can decide for themselves if they want to use it or not (the government did not, for example, ban kratom, which, according to some experts, could appear on the new list of regulated substances – note ed.). The new list will be such an intermediate stage. If we were to completely ban, for example, nicotine sachets, which are commonly used in medicine, people would find their way to them on the black market.
In short, total prohibition is not the solution?
I don’t think so. But of course it is about the political debate and the setting of each of us. It is important to emphasize that the recommendation may change over time. All countries and the WHO always examine a new substance. Thus, within a year, it may prove necessary to ban it, and the government will do so without delay.
Source: Jana Kopecká
The aforementioned draft amendment to the Act on Addictive Substances is in the Chamber of Deputies, where sometimes long speeches are made about other standards, while some, on the other hand, lie idle. Are you planning an agreement with the opposition to discuss the proposal as a matter of priority?
We are past the first reading. From the beginning, we have also been negotiating with the opposition movement YES, which is important. AT nicotine sachets that was also the case and it helped to push through faster. We are now debating some points of the proposal. I am convinced that we will agree on his assignment. Even considering what is happening now.
WE WROTE: Flavored nicotine sachets cause addiction in children:
The taste trumps the fear of addiction. Czech children liked the nicotine pouches
You are also planning to submit a proposal regarding energy drinks. These got into a frenzy when kids bought the highly caffeinated Prime in droves. What will the blueprint consist of?
We want to regulate the age from which such drinks can be obtained. We are deciding whether it should be 15 or 18 years. If age regulation were to occur, in schools where the sale of energy drinks is already prohibited, they could also prohibit the consumption of those brought in. There are also other things related to this, where a government decree or regulation is sufficient. For example, advertising restrictions for YouTubers or influencers. He promoted the proposal in the last election period Bohuslav Svoboda from the ODS, we are now working on it with my colleague Josef Flek from the STAN movement. I am glad that we are united in this across the House, including the SPD and the ANO movement.