New psychoactive substances and low-income countries: a burgeoning crisis

New psychoactive substances (NPS) are compounds intended to replicate the effects of legal and illegal drugs. The continuous detection of new NPS via several forensic toxicology techniques attests to the considerable NPS popularity all over the world, although such determinations rely on still indecisive findings, given the elusiveness inherent in NPS and the the lack of standardized and uniformly applied detection and screening techniques. A worrisome and neglected issue is the proliferation of NPS and other drugs of abuse in developing countries. Demographics may partly explain such an emerging threat, which in a globalized world is likely to have an impact that goes well beyond national borders, especially in light of the criminal organizations’ ability to function and operate in the cyberspace, harnessing the potential of the “dark web” to overstep the boundaries and oversight mechanisms put in place by nations and international institutions.

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