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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 98-104

New psychoactive substances: Issues and challenges

Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Ravindra Rao
National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre, Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi - 110 029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-8990.193427

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New psychoactive substances (NPS) have emerged as "legal" alternatives to internationally controlled drugs and commonly known by terms such as "designer drugs," "legal highs," or "herbal highs." These drugs are gaining popularity among youth in recent times as they are less expensive and easily available through head shops and internet. Till date, data about the extent and use of NPS in general population are limited. A large number of NPS are entering the user market due to the infinite possibility of altering the chemical structures of existing NPS to derive new substances, making them difficult to monitor. There is limited evidence of health damage associated with the use of NPS; research has also shown that some NPS have medical use also, which creates a dilemma for blanket control of all of these substances. Further, these drugs are not detected by traditional detection methods making them popular substitute for controlled substances, increasing challenges to laboratories and legal system. These issues and challenges would be important for clinicians, law enforcement authorities, and policy makers to consider for mounting an effective response to control the use of NPS.

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