New Psychoactive Substances (NPS)

New or novel psychoactive substances and "legal highs," including synthetic cannabinoids, mephedrone, ketamine, and more

Stigmatization and Inhumane Treatment of Krokodil Users

(Stigmatization and Inhumane Treatment of Krokodil Users) "In Russia and many other post-Soviet countries, the old ideology lingers on in narcological institutes, out of sync with modern public and mental health concepts (Grund et al., 2009). Many narcologists continue to view addiction as criminal or moral deviance and not as a disease. Narcological dispensaries continue to share information with law enforcement (Mendelevich, 2011). The threat of removal of child custody rights may impede women’s access to health care in particular (Shields, 2009).

Harms Associated with Krokodil Use

(Harms Associated with Krokodil Use) "In recent years, harm reduction and drug treatment services from Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Kazakhstan began reporting severe health consequences associated with krokodil injecting. Although serious localized and systemic harms have previously been associated with injecting homemade opiates and stimulants in the region (Grund, 2002; Volik, 2008), the harms associated with krokodil injecting are extreme and unprecedented.

Krokodil - Reasons and Risks

(Krokodil - Reasons and Risks) "In sum, these observations suggest that the relatively limited availability of black market opiates and stimulants and the relative ease of harvesting legal precursors to powerful analogues from the countryside and pharmacies inspired and sustained a Soviet-style homemade drug culture in the Eastern European region that remains radically different from those observed in countries where narco-traffickers dominate the production and distribution of drugs (Booth, Kennedy, Brewster, & Semerik, 2003; Grund et al., 2009; Grund, 2005; Subata &

Prevalence of Krokodile Use

(Prevalence of Krokodile Use) "The estimated number of PWID in Russia was close to 2 million in 2008 (Mathers et al., 2008). 2.3% of the Russian population uses opioids annually and 1.4% heroin, compared to an annual prevalence of 0.4% opioid use in Western and Central Europe (UNODC, 2012).

Krokodil Production

(Krokodil Production) "In considering the drug krokodil, two aspects are of importance, its pharmacology and its chemistry. The short half-life, limited high after the impact effect and, in particular the need for frequent administration may narrow the attention of users on the (circular) process of acquiring, preparing and administering the drug, leaving little time for matters other than avoiding withdrawal and chasing high, as reported in several popular magazines (e.g. Shuster, 2011; Walker, 2011).

Emergency Room Visits Related to NPS Use

(Emergency Room Visits Related to NPS Use) "In the United States, the first report on synthetic cannabinoids from the Drug Abuse Warning Network revealed that an estimated 11,406 visits of the approximately 2,300,000 emergency department visits that involved drug use in 2010 were specifically linked to synthetic cannabinoids. Three quarters of these emergency department visits involved patients aged 12 to 29 (75 percent or 8,557 visits), of which 78 percent were male, and in the majority (59 percent) of these cases, no other substances were involved.

Description of Kratom

(Description of Kratom) "Street names for kratom include ‘thang’, ‘kakuam’, ‘thom’, ‘ketum’ and ‘biak’. Kratom leaves are usually consumed fresh, although dried leaves in powder form are also available. The fresh leaves are chewed while the powder form is often either swallowed or brewed into tea. Dried leaves are rarely smoked."

Reported Adverse Effects of Khat

(Reported Adverse Effects of Khat) "It has been estimated that a typical chewing session of khat results in the absorption of its active constituents with an activity equivalent to that of approximately 5 mg of amphetamine.81 The pharmacological effects of khat resemble those of amphetamine use, and includes increased alertness, euphoria, hyperthermia, anorexia, increased respiration rate, heart rate and blood pressure.82

Description of Khat

(Description of Khat) "Street names for khat include ‘qat’, ‘gat’, ‘chat’, ‘miraa’, ‘murungu’ and ‘Arabian or Abyssinian tea’. Due to the degradation of cathinone, khat leaves need to be consumed soon after harvesting and therefore fresh leaves of khat are the preferred form of use, but dried leaves (‘graba’) are also available. Khat is usually consumed by chewing the leaves and shoots of the plant, but infusions are also possible. Recently, alcoholic extracts of khat sold as ‘herbal highs’ have been reported.80"