The emergence of new psychoactive substances (NPS) over the last decade has posed a major challenge to drug policy. While the limited available data indicates that prevalence levels of NPS use are relatively low in the general European population, there are concerns around more problematic forms of use and harms in particular drug using populations. A number of public health concerns have arisen as a consequence of their use, although the real extent of these harms across Europe remains unknown. Initial responses to NPS availability in Europe have largely been regulatory, focusing on their supply using legislative tools but, as the phenomenon evolves, it has increasingly become a priority to formulate and implement effective public health responses. This analysis takes a look at some of the key risk groups among which NPS are being used and the health responses currently being employed across various intervention settings.
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