New Psychoactive Substances (NPS)

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

Prevalence of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) Among US Youth

Prevalence of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) Among US Youth: "In the United States, there are indications of an increase in NPS use among certain user groups between 2009 and 2013; the prevalence of lifetime use of a 'novel psychoactive substance' among the population aged 12-34 was 1.2 per cent in 2013.235 There are signs of declining use of synthetic cannabinoids among secondary school students in the United States.

Description of Kratom

"Mitragyna speciosa Korth (of the Rubiaceae family) is a large tree found in tropical and sub-tropical regions of South-East Asia. In Thailand, the tree known as ‘Kratom’ is found throughout the country but predominantly in the southern region, although the growing and harvesting is prohibited.

Mephedrone and Synthetic Cathinones

"Cathinone and its derivatives are closely related to the phenethylamine family (which includes amphetamine and methamphetamine), but with a lower potency than the latter.13 They are characterised by the presence of a ?-keto group on the side chain of the phenethylamines. Cathinone, the principal active ingredient in the leaves of the khat plant (catha edulis), can be considered as the prototype from which a range of synthetic cathinones have been developed.

Prevalence of Synthetic Cannabinoid Use Among Young People in the US

"Synthetic marijuana, so named because it contains synthetic versions of some of the cannabinoids found in marijuana, is a recent and important addition to the smorgasbord of drugs available to young people in the US. These designer chemicals are sprayed onto herbal materials that are then sold in small packets under such brand names as Spice and K-2. They have been readily available as over-the-counter drugs on the Internet and in venues like head shops and gas stations.

Prevalence of NPS Use Among Young People in England and Wales

"According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales,238 over the period 2014-2015, 279,000 adults (0.9 per cent of the population aged 16-59) reported the use of NPS. Among young adults (ages 16-24), the prevalence of NPS use was much higher (2.8 per cent), the majority of the users being young men. Herbal smoking mixtures were the most commonly used form of NPS, with 61 per cent of the population aged 16-59 reporting their use.

Worldwide Growth in Novel Psychoactive Substances

"Between 2008 and 2015, a total of 644 NPS had been reported by 102 countries and territories to the UNODC early warning advisory on NPS. The emergence of NPS was reported for the first time in 2015 in Kyrgyzstan and Mauritius. In 2015, the early warning advisory also registered the emergence of NPS in previous years in Belarus, Serbia, South Africa and Tajikistan. The majority of countries and territories that reported the emergence of NPS up to December 2015 were from Europe (41), followed by Asia (30), Africa (16), the Americas (13) and Oceania (2).

New Psychoactive Substances Defined

"In the operating guidelines on the early warning system, EMCDDA [European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction] made it explicit that 'the term ‘new’ did not refer to newly invented, but rather ‘newly misused’' substances as 'most of the drugs in question were first created many years ago.'20 In fact, investigations into the potential use of piperazines as anthelmintic have been reported in scientific literature since the early 1950s.21 Yet they only started to emerge as a health problem in several countries in the decade 2001-2010.

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