The proliferation of Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) presents a challenge for global drug policy. The ease of online drug purchase and the emergence of the dark web have created new avenues for the growth of NPS. Despite the global nature of this issue, limited research has examined motivations of use. These include perceived safety or convenience, an interest in novel pharmacology and self-exploration. Recent evidence has suggested individuals may be self-medicating with NPS, however this phenomenon has yet to be thoroughly explored. This study aims to investigate the occurrence of NPS self-medication, identify the specific NPS involved, and understand the motivations behind their use.
The utility of classical drugs used to treat psychiatric disorders (e.g., antidepressants, anxiolytics) is often limited by issues of lack of efficacy, delayed onset of action or side effects. Psychoactive substances have a long history of being used as tools to alter consciousness and as a gateway to approach the unknown and the divinities. These substances were initially obtained from plants and animals and more recently by chemical synthesis, and its consumption evolved toward a more recreational use, leading to drug abuse-related disorders, trafficking, and subsequent banning by the authorities. Read more
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
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. Read more
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
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
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
The rapid emergence of a large number of NPS on the global drug market poses a significant risk to public health and a challenge to drug policy. Often, little is known about the adverse health effects and social harms of NPS, which pose a considerable challenge for prevention and treatment. The analysis and identification of a large number of chemically diverse substances present in drug markets at the same time is demanding. Monitoring, information sharing, early warning and risk awareness are essential to respond to this situation. Read more