The coming on the market of the products called “Research Chemicals” or “legal highs” is no accident. It corresponds to an evolution in the drug using community, based on several elements:

  • The new generation has seized the Internet tool and spends an enormous amount of time “online”, in the world of the “web” where pleasure seeking is continually expressed. This new generation of users shares its experiments of the use of NPS (New Psychoactive substances) through Internet forums and it has now acquired a real expertise.
  • New businesses have emerged on the market of online sales of psychoactive substances, providing an ever moving and international offer. The emergence of these new drug routes has contributed to the development of a new “ Mafia”, that has adapted its strategies to this “Geek Generation”.

The law of 1970 is now forced into a virtual corner by these phenomena. These synthetic products are many, and their effects and their risks difficult to evaluate; their commercial profile and their online sale make them easily available on a large scale. Payments are carried out online by credit cards, using official bank routes; in all these aspects they go beyond law enforcement, which seems to have stalled in front of them.

As these NPS are conducive to risk taking, the addiction service providers need to work out new harm reduction strategies, which will fully, involving the users.

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