VIII NPS Conference Abstract Book

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VIII NPS Conference Program

Introduction

In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of new psychoactive substances (NPS) detected across the world. The NPS market remains highly dynamic and is characterised by the emergence of large numbers of new substances reported in a growing number of countries.

Between 2009 and 2021, 133 countries and territories reported the emergence of 1 087 NPS to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), through the UNODC Early Warning Advisory on NPS. In Europe, since 1997, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), has been monitoring and responding to NPS appearing in the EU through the EU Early Warning System on NPS. At the end of 2021, the EMCDDA was monitoring around 870 NPS, 80% of which were identified for the first time in the last decade.

The increase in the number and availability of NPS in recent years has largely been driven by globalisation, the internet and rapid changes in technology. Yet, recently, there have been some encouraging signs. For example, the number of NPS reported annually for the first time in Europe has dropped from a high of around 100 in 2014 and 2015 to around 50 in 2017 — a trend that continued in successive years.

Nevertheless, NPS continue to pose numerous challenges in terms of: detecting and monitoring; understanding patterns of use and harms caused; and developing appropriate public health responses. In Europe, around one new substance is still detected every week, increasing the overall number that needs to be monitored. Major new problems have also emerged, that have led to an increasing number and range of risks for people who use psychoactive substances. These include an increase in the number of highly potent NPS on the market — many of which are synthetic cannabinoids or synthetic opioids — and the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Faced with the numerous challenges posed by NPS, the International Society for the Study of Emerging Drugs (ISSED) strives to: strengthen multidisciplinary and international collaboration, enhance knowledge and improve the quality of information-sharing in this complex area in a more coordinated way. In this context, the NPS conference series, now in its 8th edition, is the major international forum on NPS, attracting hundreds of participants worldwide. This year’s conference is jointly organised by the ISSED, UNODC, the EMCDDA, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the University of Hertfordshire (UH) and the Centre for Forensic Science Research & Education (CFSRE).

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Previous NPS Conference Programs

Seventh International Conference on Novel Psychoactive Substances

November 2020, Online

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Sixth International Conference on Novel Psychoactive Substances

April 2019, Maastricht The Netherlands

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Fifth International Conference on Novel Psychoactive Substances

October 2017, Vienna Austria

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Fourth International Conference on Novel Psychoactive Substances

May 2016, Budapest Hungary

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Third International Conference on Novel Psychoactive Substances

May 2014, Rome Italy

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Second International Conference on Novel Psychoactive Substances

September 2013, Swansea UK

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First International Conference on Novel Psychoactive Substances

March 2012, Budapest Hungary

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