New Psychoactive Substances (NPS)

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

Description of Phenethylamines

(Description of Phenethylamines) "Street names for some phenethylamines include ‘Europa’ for 2C-E; ‘4-FMP’, ‘para-fluoroamphetamine’, ‘RDJ’ for 4-FA; and ‘4-MMA’, ‘Methyl-MA’ for PMMA. Phenethylamines are usually available in form of pills, but FLY compounds are commonly sold in powder form, while oral doses (on a slip of blotter paper) are usually available for ‘D substances’. Ingestion is the most common route of administration of phenethylamines."

Reported Adverse Effects and Toxicity of Synthetic Cathinones

(Reported Adverse Effects and Toxicity of Synthetic Cathinones) "Few reports on the toxicity of synthetic cathinones exist to date. Much of the current knowledge on health-related effects comes from user reports and clinical observations. Further research is needed to provide evidence of short and long-term health risks and the addiction potential associated with the use of these substances.

Description of Synthetic Cathinones

(Description of Synthetic Cathinones) "Synthetic cathinones are frequently found in products sold as ‘research chemicals’, ‘plant food’, ‘bath salts’ or ‘glass cleaner’ and are usually sold in powder, pill or capsule form. Mephedrone (‘m-cat’, ‘meph’, ‘drone’ or ‘miaow’) and methylone (‘explosion’ or ‘top cat’) are usually available as white or brown powders or in the form of pills that are often sold as ‘ecstasy’. Most synthetic derivatives are ingested but may be injected.

Reported Adverse Effects of Synthetic Cannabinoids

(Reported Adverse Effects of Synthetic Cannabinoids) "While side effects of cannabis are well documented,7 data on human toxicity related to the use of synthetic cannabinoids remains limited. As with other NPS, products sold as synthetic cannabinoids often contain several chemicals in different concentrations, making it very difficult to determine substance-specific effects. Available knowledge on the toxicity of these compounds comes from scientific reports and clinical observations.

Description of Ketamine

(Description of Ketamine) "Ketamine and phencyclidine have similar modes of action, affecting a range of central neurotransmitters. Ketamine is frequently sold as ‘ecstasy’ in illicit ATS [Amphetamine-Type Stimulants] markets. Street names for ketamine include ‘K’, ‘special K’, ‘kit kat’, ‘tac’, ‘tic’, ‘cat valium’, ‘cat tranquilizer’, ‘vitamin K’, ‘ket’, ‘super K’.38

Description of Salvia and Its Effects

(Description of Salvia and Its Effects) "Salvia divinorum is a psychoactive plant that can induce dissociative effects and is a potent producer of visual and other hallucinatory experiences. By mass, salvinorin A, the psychoactive substance in the plant, appears to be the most potent naturally occurring hallucinogen. Its native habitat is the cloud forests in Mexico.

Potential for Abuse or Dependence of Salvia Divinorum

(Potential for Abuse or Dependence of Salvia Divinorum) "There was little evidence of dependence in our survey population. At some point, 0.6% (3 people) felt addicted to or dependent upon SD, while 1.2% (6) reported strong cravings for SD. The DSM-IV-R psychiatric diagnostic system in the United States classifies people as drug dependent based on seven criteria. Of the three who reported feelings of addiction or dependence on SD, only one endorsed any DSM-IV criteria (strong cravings and using more SD than planned).

Effects of Salvia Divinorum

(Effects of Salvia Divinorum) "The putative primary psychoactive agent in SD [Salvia divinorum] is a structurally novel KOR [kappa opioid receptor] agonist named salvinorin A (Ortega et al., 1982; Valdés et al., 1984). Consistent with KOR agonist activity, users describe SD in lay literature as hallucinogenic: it produces perceptual distortions, pseudo-hallucinations, and a profoundly altered sense of self and environment, including out-of-body experiences (Aardvark, 1998; Erowid, 2008; Siebert, 1994b; Turner, 1996).

Effects of Salvia Divinorum

(Effects of Salvia Divinorum) "Consistent with results from nonhuman animal research (Mowry et al.,2003), the present results suggest a safe physiological profile for salvinorin A at the studied doses, under controlled conditions, and in psychologically and physically healthy hallucinogen-experienced participants. Salvinorin A produced no significant changes in heart rate or blood pressure; no tremor was observed; and no adverse events were reported. Participants tolerated all doses.

The Emergence of 'Krokodil'

"In the last three to five years an increasing number of reports suggest that people who inject drugs (PWID) in Russia, Ukraine and other countries are no longer using poppies or raw opium as their starting material, but turning to over-the-counter medications that contain codeine (e.g. Solpadeine, Codterpin or Codelac). Codeine is reportedly converted into desomorphine (UNODC, 2012; Gahr et al., 2012a, 2012b, 2012c; Skowronek, Celinski, & Chowaniec, 2012).