The phenomenon of new psychoactive substances (NPS) started decades ago with the growth and production of drugs that replicate the effects of controlled drugs (such as amphetamines, cocaine, cannabis and heroin) but avoid legislative control based on different chemical structures.

In recent years, the increasing use of NPS has led to new threats for health of people who use drugs (PWUD) – including overdose, psychotic reactions, high HIV risks due to multiple injections and increased number of sexual contacts. However, in many countries service providers such as harm reduction, drug treatment programs and ambulance services are not prepared to provide PWUD with quality support and counselling to reduce risks of NPS.

In the Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEECA) region the situation with NPS is truly alarming and has become one of the major challenges for the national public health systems, local NGOs, communities PWUD.

EHRA in partnership with School of Law, Swansea University conducted a research “New Psychoactive Substance Use in Moldova and Belarus”. It aimed to analyze and determine the presence of new psychoactive substances (NPS) in Belarus and Moldova. Results from this project will supplement scarce international data on the use of NPS in these countries, present a more accurate picture of its use, and provide information to national civil society organizations for political advocacy.

In 2020, research will be expanded into 4 more countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Serbia.