Online sales of new psychoactive substances / 'legal highs': summary of results from the 2011 multilingual snapshots

Series type: Technical reports


The EMCDDA monitors unregulated psychoactive products — the so-called ‘legal highs’ — sold via the Internet and advertised with aggressive and sophisticated marketing strategies, and in some cases intentionally mislabelled with declared ingredients differing from the actual composition. The ‘legal highs’ market is distinguished by the speed at which suppliers circumvent drug controls by offering new alternatives. The EMCDDA has been monitoring the marketing of these new psychoactive substances since 2006 through multilingual Internet ‘snapshots’, which function as rapid assessments of the online availability of substances, undertaken during a limited time window. Changes in the methods used have increased the quality and coverage of these surveys, but mean that data for different snapshots may not be directly comparable. This paper presents findings from the two most recent snapshots, performed in January and July 2011.

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Table of contents

  • Background
  • EMCDDA snapshot methodology
  • Results
  • Restrictions on deliveries and ‘disclaimers’
  • Products and prices
  • Conclusions
  • References
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