Novel psychoactive substances (NPS) - knowledge and expe riences of drug users from Hungary, Poland, the UK and the USA

Agnieszka Pisarska, Paolo Deluca, Zsolt Demetrovics, Jacek Moskalewicz, Group ReDNet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: The recent decade witnessed growing prevalence of novel psychoactive substances (NPS) among young people in Europe and elsewhere. The study, conducted in 2011 as part of the EU-funded ReDNet project, aimed at better understanding of motives behind the demand for NPS among youth as well as at their information needs in this regard. In addition to historical values, the lessons learned during the legal status of NPS may contribute to a more general understanding of use of new drugs and to current drug policies. METHOD: A self-administered anonymous questionnaire on NPS was completed via internet among young people from Hungary, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States (N=1353) when NPS in general still enjoyed legal status. RESULTS: The majority of respondents (82%) used NPS in the last 12 months and approximately half of them experienced adverse effects from these substances. The most frequent motives behind NSP use were willingness to experiment with new substances. However, sense of security and confidence in their composition as legal products were also important drivers of their consumption. Desired psychoactive effects and risks associated with their use were rated as the two most vital pieces of information to improve their knowledge about NPS. CONCLUSIONS: There were some differences between participants representing different countries, however, the study also revealed many similarities, suggesting emergence of global youth consumption cultures, including NPS use. Provision of information on NPS, including their positive and negative effects, should play an important role in drug policies. Since the time of the study some qualities of NPS (such as confidence in their composition as well as quality and sense of security) may have deteriorated after delegalisation. On the other hand, opinions of NPS users suggest that delegalisation may have a deterrent effect for one third of their consumers while would not affect majority of them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-163
Number of pages12
JournalNeuropsychopharmacologia Hungarica : a Magyar Pszichofarmakologiai Egyesulet lapja = official journal of the Hungarian Association of Psychopharmacology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Clinical Neurology

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