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June 2017 – UNODC World Drug Report 2017: New psychoactive substances continue to evolve, diversify and grow

VIENNA, Austria – June 2017: The new psychoactive substance (NPS) market continues to be very dynamic and is characterized by the emergence of large numbers of new substances belonging to diverse chemical groups. Between 2009 and 2016, 106 countries and territories reported the emergence of 739 different NPS to UNODC. Marketed in many different ways and forms, new substances often emerge quickly and disappear again, while some become used regularly among a small group of users. Several countries have reported NPS being sold under the name of controlled drugs such as “LSD” and “ecstasy”. Often used for reasons similar to those for the use of traditional drugs, their easy availability and low prices have made certain NPS highly attractive to some groups of drug users. A market for some NPS in their own right now appears to have been established.

A core group of over 80 NPS were reported every year during the period 2009-2015 and appear to have become established on the global market; a number of them have been placed under international control. On the other hand, about 60 NPS seem to have disappeared from the market since 2013. Problems in identifying them in a laboratory may be a factor, however, in the low level of reporting of these lesser-known substances.


Figure 1. Number of different new psychoactive substances reported each year, 2009-2015

Source: UNODC, early warning advisory on new psychoactive substances.

For more information, please see:

UNODC “World Drug Report 2017


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