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List of Announcements

  • MAASTRICHT, The Netherlands – April 2019: The sixth International Conference on NPS was held in Maastricht from 8 to 9 April 2019, with the aim to increase knowledge on NPS, strengthen the evidence base and promote innovative strategies to protect public health and foster global collaboration. 250 participants from multidisciplinary fields from 25 countries attended the conference. The sessions included latest trends in NPS use, settings, experiences and trends; detection, identification and characterization; pharmacology and toxicology; prevention, harm reduction, treatment and clinical management; performance- and image-enhancing drugs; early-warning and toxicovigilance; monitoring new psychoactive substances; and policy and legislation. The conference was jointly organized by the UNODC, EMCDDA, WADA, the University of Hertfordshire and the University of Maastricht.

    UNODC’s contribution to the conference included a presentation that provided an overview on the latest global trends of the NPS market, highlighting that periods of rapid emergence of substances of abuse have been often recorded in the long history of international drug control. The presentation looked at events behind the scenes and highlighted lessons learnt from the delineation of policy responses for NPS and traditional drugs; the creation of niche markets and the shift to vulnerable populations. It concluded by presenting best practices such as the Toolkit on Synthetic drugs which might aid in addressing possible future cycles of new substance emergence.

    For further information please see:

    - Sixth International Conference on NPS
    - UNODC presentation ‘The emergence of new psychoactive substances – a crisis that did not happen?’
    - UN Toolkit on Synthetic Drugs (works best with Chrome)


  • PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago – April 2019: The Minister of National Security of Trinidad and Tobago during a post-Cabinet briefing warned the public on the health risks of synthetic drugs. Although Trinidad and Tobago had made very few seizures of synthetic drugs in the past, within four months after a training provided by UNODC, officers seized over 5,000 synthetic drug pills. Most of the pills tested positive for MDMA, but also other substances as amphetamine, methamphetamine and ketamine in powder and crystalline form were identified.

    Trinidad and Tobago participated in the UNODC hands-on forensic training workshop on drug identification, in Panama in November 2018. UNODC trained police and customs officers from Latin America and the Caribbean on using modern hand-held drug identification devices on synthetic drugs and NPS, the health risks associated with the abuse of those substances and how this affects men and women differently. Using those devices over 400 different drugs and precursors, including NPS, can be identified.

    “We had never seen such amounts of synthetic drugs seized in such a short period of time” said David Anyanwu from the Integrated Threat Assessment Centre of Trinidad and Tobago, which also hosts the country’s newly established early warning system for New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) and Emerging Drugs. “The devices provided by UNODC have been critical in this context. Although we suspected synthetic drugs were coming into the country, we had limited capacity to detect them”, he continued.