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January 2020 – UNODC-SMART: Share of NPS stimulants and synthetic cannabinoids large but stable while opioids increase

VIENNA, Austria – January 2020: As of December 2019, a total of 950 unique new psychoactive substances (NPS) have been reported to the UNODC Early Warning Advisory on NPS. Stimulants continue to account for the largest proportion of synthetic NPS at 36 percent, followed by synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (31 percent) and classic hallucinogens (15 percent). Significantly, the proportion of synthetic NPS with opioid effects saw an increase from 2 to 8 percent from 2015 to 2019. The proportion of dissociatives and sedatives/hypnotics remained stable at 3 percent. 

Figure 1: Proportion of synthetic new psychoactive substances, by psychoactive effect group, as of December 2019

Source: UNODC Early Warning Advisory on new psychoactive substances.

Note: The analysis of the pharmacological effects comprises synthetic NPS registered up to December 2019.
Plant-based substances were excluded from the analysis as they usually contain a large number of different substances, some of which may not have been known and whose effects and interactions are not fully understood.


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