Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin says the Attorney General has been asked to look at legislation to ban so-called ‘legal high’ drugs.
Her comments follow a meeting of the Stormont Executive at which the deaths of 20 people who died as a result of taking unclassified ‘legal high’ drugs was discussed.
Ms. McLaughlin, chair of the Stormont health committee, said: “The deaths of 20 people as a result of these so-called ‘legal high’ drugs is a major public health issue.
“I asked for this to be raised at the Executive today to explore what options are available to the Justice Minister to ban this toxic drug and remove it from our streets.
“I understand both the health minister and the justice minister were lobbied on this issue and the Attorney General has been asked to look at the legislation to see what can be done to ban these substances.
“We have a duty to explore every avenue to keep people safe from the scourge of the misuse of drugs, both legal and illegal.”
Twenty deaths have now been linked to a new unregulated drug that was introduced in Northern Ireland last year.
A coroner has likened the deaths to having a serial killer on the loose.
John Leckey made his comments at one of several inquests in Belfast which is looking at the drug-related deaths of six people in NI.
The drug has a number of street names including speckled cherries and speckled crosses.
The substance in question is called para-methyl-4-methylaminorex or 4,4’-DMAR