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Title: The 'new psychoactive substances'
Authors: Sammut, Godwin
Keywords: Synthetic drugs -- Malta
Designer drugs -- Malta
Drugs of abuse -- Malta
Synthetic marijuana
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Medical Portals Ltd.
Citation: Sammut, G. (2020). The 'new psychoactive substances'. The Synapse : the Medical Professionals' Network, 19(3), 23-26.
Abstract: One of the worst revolutions in illicit drug misuse took place with the development of synthetic drugs. These are drugs that are created using man-made chemicals rather than natural ingredients. Such drugs are not a new phenomenon and have been around since the 1960s when d-lysergic acid (LSD) became popular. This was followed by the growing popularity of Ecstasy or MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) some 20 years later, in the 1980s. These are just two of the many synthetic drugs which exist and, in a way, these first synthetic drugs of misuse can be considered as a prelude to the hundreds of new synthetic drugs that would surface in the years which followed. Despite being known also as 'designer drugs', 'herbal highs', 'bath salts', and 'legal highs', the preferred term as adopted by the European Community in 2005 is 'new psychoactive substances' (NPSs). They are defined as 'Narcotic or psychotropic drugs that are not scheduled under the United Nations 1961 or 1971 Conventions, but which may pose a threat to public health corn parable to scheduled substances'. The word 'new' is not because these are newly synthesised substances, since nearly all of the substances encountered were first synthesised years ago, but merely refers to being newly misused. Their aim is to mimic the effects of the 'traditional' drugs such as cannabis, heroin and cocaine and can be distinguished from the 'traditional' drugs of misuse because, with some exceptions, NPSs have no history of medical use. These substances are also frequently labelled as 'not for human consumption' to try and elude customs drug controls.
Appears in Collections:The Synapse, Volume 19, Issue 3
The Synapse, Volume 19, Issue 3

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