New psychoactive substances — action points (EU Drug Markets Report)

New psychoactive substances — action points

European new substances market

1.    In order to reduce the harm caused by new psychoactive substances and protect public health, there is a recognised need to strengthen the EU Early Warning System and the national systems that support it in order to keep pace with the challenges posed by this rapidly developing market.

2.    Suitable epidemiological indicators should be developed in order to allow the collection of more reliable information across Europe on the use of new psychoactive substances.

Production and distribution

3.    The capacity of law enforcement agencies, in particular customs authorities, should be strengthened by providing training and sharing best practice for detecting shipments of new substances and precursors at European borders and within the postal, transport and logistic services.

4.    The capacity of forensic science laboratories to identify new substances and precursors should be increased. This should include mechanisms to allow analytical data, reference materials and expertise to be shared.

5.    There is a need to systematically monitor online market places, particularly those selling wholesale quantities on the surface web and anonymous marketplaces, and to develop partnerships with industry to restrict illegal activities.

6.    An improved understanding of the production of new substances within Europe, the involvement of crime groups and the interaction between the new substances market and the established market in controlled drugs is urgently required and could be achieved through intelligence sharing, research and monitoring, and threat assessment.
Marketing and retail supply

7.    Greater knowledge of the methods used by those involved in the retail market is needed, as is research on the marketing strategies used, in order to develop more effective supply and demand reduction interventions.

8.    There is a need to improve intelligence on bricks-and-mortar shops as well as retail surface web vendors and anonymous marketplaces selling new substances to develop effective interventions, e.g. developing partnerships with industry to restrict illegal activities.

New substances — greater risks?

9.    The capacity to identify and report serious adverse events associated with new substances should be increased, including the monitoring of open source information. This will facilitate the timely identification of emerging toxicological problems and support an earlier response at national and EU level.

10.    Forensic toxicology laboratories engaged in identifying new substances in biological samples associated with serious harms must be supported. This should include mechanisms to allow analytical data, reference samples and expertise to be shared.

11.    EU-level and national initiatives should be developed to strengthen cooperation between public health and law enforcement agencies in order to rapidly identify and remove substances causing immediate and pronounced threat to public health from the market.

12.    Research into the pharmacology and toxicology of new substances should be prioritised according to signals identified by the EU Early Warning System.

13.    Evidence-based responses to use should be developed, including appropriate harm reduction services tailored for the broad range of user groups.