An Update on the Implications of New Psychoactive Substances in Public Health

The emergence of new psychoactive substances has earned a great deal of attention, and several reports of acute poisoning and deaths have been issued involving, for instance, synthetic opiates. Read more

DARK Classics in Chemical Neuroscience: Cathinone-Derived Psychostimulants

Cathinone is a plant alkaloid found in khat leaves of perennial shrubs grown in East Africa. Similar to cocaine, cathinone elicits psychostimulant effects which are in part attributed to its amphetamine-like structure. Around 2010, home laboratories began altering the parent structure of cathinone to synthesize derivatives with mechanisms of action, potencies, and pharmacokinetics permitting high abuse potential and toxicity. Read more

Pharmacotherapy of Patients Taking New Psychoactive Substances: A Systematic Review and Analysis of Case Reports

In recent years, an increase in the frequency of hospitalizations of patients taking newer and newer psychoactive substances has been observed around the world. Each year, authors publish case reports of patients who consumed previously unknown NPS. Most publications of this type concern the period between 2014 and 2016. However, no publication systematically reviews the pharmacotherapy used in these cases. This study aims to review the case reports of patients taking NPS published between 2010 and 2019, as well as analyzing the pharmacotherapy used. Read more

Molecular Mechanisms of Action of Novel Psychoactive Substances

Novel psychoactive substances (NPS) represent a severe health risk for drug users. Even though the phenomenon has been growing since the early 2000s, the mechanisms of action of NPS at the receptors and beyond them are still scarcely understood. The aim of the present study was to provide a systematic review of the updated knowledge regarding the molecular mechanisms underlying the toxicity of synthetic opioids, cannabinoids, cathinones, and stimulants. Read more

New Psychoactive Substances and Suicidality: A Systematic Review of the Current Literature

Background and Objectives:  Over the past twenty years a large number of new psychoactive substances (NPS) have entered and modified the recreational drug scene. Their intake has been associated with health-related risks, especially so for vulnerable populations such as people with severe mental illness, who might be at higher risk of suicidality or self-injurious behavior. This paper aims at providing an overview of NPS abuse and the effects on mental health and suicidality issues, by performing a literature review of the current related knowledge, thereby identifying those substances that, more than others, are linked to suicidal behaviors. Read more