In recent years, environmental signals from both formal and informal research and monitoring sources have been indicating critical new developments within Europe’s new psychoactive substances (NPS) market. These include signs of increased and problem use of NPS among a range of demographic groups, including the use of synthetic cathinones by opioid and amphetamine injectors, the injection of synthetic cathinones by certain subgroups of men who have sex with men, reports of potent new synthetic opioids found in heroin products, and the use of synthetic cannabinoids by marginalised populations in some countries. To investigate the circumstances and impact of these developments, a targeted rapid information assessment or ‘trendspotter’ study was initiated by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and carried out between July and October 2016.

Keep up-to-date with drug policy developments by subscribing to the IDPC Monthly Alert.