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February 2021 – UNODC EWA: Share of NPS stimulants and synthetic cannabinoids remains stable while opioids continue to increase

VIENNA, Austria – February 2021: As of December 2020, a total of 1,047 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 (29 percent) and classic hallucinogens (15 percent). NPS with opioid effects saw a significant increase from 2 to 9 percent from 2015 to 2020 and are now the fourth-largest group after classic hallucinogens.

Figure: Synthetic new psychoactive substances, by effect group (as of December 2020)

Source: UNODC Early warning advisory on new psychoactive substances, 2021.

Note: The analysis of pharmacological effects comprises 1,025 synthetic NPS reported up to December 2020. The figures for 2020 are still preliminary and subject to change. Plant-based substances (22 substances) were excluded from the analysis, as they usually contain a large number of different substances, some of which may not be fully known, and the effects and interactions of which may not be fully understood.


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