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June 2018 – UNODC: Stimulant NPS constitute the largest NPS group, but synthetic opioids are growing rapidly

VIENNA, Austria – June 2018: Grouped by their main pharmacological effect, the largest portion of NPS reported since UNODC monitoring began are stimulants, followed by synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists and classic hallucinogens. Smaller effect groups such as opioids, dissociatives and sedatives/hypnotics have grown over the past few years, in proportional terms, at the expense of synthetic cannabinoids and classic hallucinogens. The number of NPS in each group and their growth does not necessarily indicate their scope of use and/or magnitude of threat to public health. This is demonstrated by NPS with opioid effects, which, albeit small in number, have been associated with a growing number of often fatal overdose events in recent years.

Figure 1. Proportion of new psychoactive substances, by psychoactive effect group, December 2017

Source: UNODC, early warning advisory on new psychoactive substances. Note: The analysis of the pharmacological effects comprises NPS registered up to December 2017. 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.


For more information, please see:

UNODC World Drug Report 2018 – Booklet 3


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