A new psychoactive substance (or NPS) is a narcotic or psychotropic drug that is not controlled by existing international conventions but that may pose a significant public health threat.
New psychoactive substances are an emerging topic. Research is ongoing in this area and we currently lack evidence on what works best.
Many research gaps still need to be filled in order to inform future policy responses to new psychoactive substances (Ferri et al., 2014):
Until today, at both European and international level countries have responded to the problem through consumer protection and law enforcement measures and namely with a range of different innovative legal responses.
Demand reduction initiatives are currently being implemented in Europe (e.g. specialist clinics for users of club drugs in the UK), yet we will need to wait for outcome evaluations of such initiatives before promoting them as European best practice. Standards for drug prevention interventions in recreational settings already exist and can be used as a reference point for new psychoactive substance prevention programmes.