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Action on new drugs

Download the 'Monitoring new drugs' brochure.

The EMCDDA is increasingly active in monitoring new psychoactive substances which may pose health and social risks to our societies. A new psychoactive substance is defined as 'a new narcotic or psychotropic drug, in pure form or in preparation, that is not controlled by the United Nations drug conventions, but which may pose a public health threat comparable to that posed by substances listed in these conventions'. On this page you can find more information on the EMCDDA's work in this area as well as the key outputs on new drugs.

Contact: EWS[a]emcdda.europa.eu

Recent publications

Below you can find the key products and outputs.

Updates from the EU Early Warning System

Implementation reports

The EMCDDA and Europol report annually to the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on the implementation of the Council Decision on information exchange, risk-assessment and control of new psychoactive substances. The reports present the activities implemented and the new drugs detected for the first time during the reporting year.

Risk assessments

Risk assessments are produced at the request of the the European Council to assess the risks associated with a new psychoactive substance (click here for more information on the risk assessment process).

Joint reports (early warning system)

When the EMCDDA and Europol consider a newly detected psychoactive substance merits further collection and analysis, this information is presented in the form of a joint report (click here for more information on the early warning system).


These practical guidelines have been prepared to assist the implementation of the Council Decision on information exchange, risk-assessment and control of new psychoactive substances.

Perspectives on drugs

The EMCDDA Perspectives on drugs are designed-for-the-web analyses which incorporate interactive features, such as the interactive tool that allows selecting different combinations of substituents and build up compounds that are being monitored by the EU Early Warning System.

Drug profiles

The EMCDDA has published a number of objective and scientifically sound descriptions of new drugs, as part of the 'Drug profiles' series.

Thematic papers

The EMCDDA Thematic papers are scientific papers on selected, theme-based aspects of the drugs phenomenon.

Information by drug

Below you can find the key products and outputs, categorised by drug type.

2-methoxy-N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)piperidin-4-yl]acetamide (methoxyacetylfentanyl)

N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)piperidin-4-yl]cyclopropanecarboxamide (cyclopropylfentanyl)

methyl 1-(2-phenylethyl)-4-[phenyl(propanoyl)amino]piperidine-4-carboxylate (carfentanil)

N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)piperidin-4-yl]tetrahydrofuran-2-carboxamide (tetrahydrofuranylfentanyl; THF-F)

N-(1-amino-3,3-dimethyl-1-oxobutan-2-yl)-1-(cyclohexylmethyl)-1H-indazole-3-carboxamide (ADB-CHMINACA)

1-(4-cyanobutyl)-N-(2-phenylpropan-2-yl)indazole-3-carboxamide (CUMYL-4CN-BINACA)

N-(4-fluorophenyl)-N-(1-phenethylpiperidin-4-yl)isobutyramide (4-fluoroisobutyrylfentanyl; 4F-iBF)

methyl 2-{[1-(5-fluoropentyl)-1H-indazole-3-carbonyl]amino}-3,3-dimethylbutanoate (5F-MDMB-PINACA; 5F-ADB)

N-(1-amino-3-methyl-1-oxobutan-2-yl)-1-(cyclohexylmethyl)-1H-indazole-3-carboxamide (AB-CHMINACA)

N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)piperidin-4-yl]furan-2-carboxamide (furanylfentanyl)

N-(1-phenethylpiperidin-4-yl)-N-phenylacrylamide (acryloylfentanyl)

N-(1-Phenethylpiperidin-4-yl)-N-phenylacetamide (acetylfentanyl)

methyl 2-[[1-(cyclohexylmethyl)-1H-indole-3-carbonyl]amino]-3,3-dimethylbutanoate (MDMB-CHMICA)

1-phenyl-2-(1-pyrrolidinyl)-1-pentanone (α-PVP)

1-cyclohexyl-4-(1,2-diphenylethyl)piperazine (MT-45)

4,4′-dimethylaminorex (4,4′-DMAR)

 2-(3-methoxyphenyl)-2-(ethylamino)cyclohexanone (methoxetamine)

1-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)-2-(pyrrolidin-1-yl)pentan-1-one (MDPV)

3,4-dichloro-N-{[1-(dimethylamino)cyclohexyl]methyl}benzamide (AH-7921)

2-(4-iodo-2,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-N-(2-methoxybenzyl)ethanamine (25I-NBOMe)

 5-(2-Aminopropyl)indole ('5-IT')

4-methylamphetamine ('4-MA')




'Spice' and synthetic cannabinoids

Events and meetings

Below you can find links to related events and meetings.

  • The VI International Conference on Novel Psychoactive Substances will take place in Maastricht on 8–9 April 2019
  • 18th Annual meeting of the Reitox Early Warning System Network, Lisbon 5-6 June 2018


A three-step approach

How does the EMCDDA detect and assess new drugs?  It uses a three step approach — click here to see an overview diagram.

In November 2017, new legislation entered into force in the European Union that will strengthen the Union’s response to new psychoactive substances that may pose public health and social threats.
The legislation comprises:


The EMCDDA has been assigned a key role in the detection and assessment of new drugs in the European Union under the terms of a Council Decision 2005/387/JHA on the information exchange, risk-assessment and control of new psychoactive substances.

This legal instrument was formally adopted by the Council of the European Union on 10 May 2005. It establishes a mechanism for a rapid exchange of information on new psychoactive substances and takes note of information on suspected adverse reactions to be reported under the pharmacovigilance system. The Council Decision has been assessed by the Commission.

The Decision also provides for an assessment of the risks associated with new psychoactive substances in order to permit the measures applicable in the Member States for control of narcotic and psychotropic substances to be applied also to new psychoactive substances.

This Decision applies to substances not currently listed in any of the schedules to the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, that may pose a comparable threat as the substances listed in Schedules I or II or IV thereof; and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, that may pose a comparable threat to public health as the substances listed in Schedule I or II or III or IV thereof.

Between 1997 and 2005 the EMCDDA has played a leading role in the implementation of the Joint action concerning the information exchange, risk assessment and control of new synthetic drugs. The Council Decision on the information exchange, risk-assessment and control of new psychoactive substances repealed the Joint Action while building on its achievements and maintaining the three-step approach:

To ensure greater transparency in the implementation of the Decision, Article 10 stipulates that ‘The EMCDDA and Europol shall report annually to the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on the implementation of this Decision. The report will take into account all aspects required for an assessment of the efficacy and achievements of the system created by this Decision.’

EDND login area
(entry to the European Information system and database on new drugs (password required))


About the EMCDDA

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the reference point on drugs and drug addiction information in Europe. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU's decentralised agencies. Read more >>

Contact us

Praça Europa 1, Cais do Sodré
1249-289 Lisbon
Tel. (351) 211 21 02 00

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Page last updated: Tuesday, 06 November 2018