Exploring the Attractiveness of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) among Experienced Drug Users

A.L.W.M. Nabben, jan van Amsterdam, Dirk Korf, Daan Keiman , Gijs Haanschoten

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Abstract—A growing number of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) appear yearly on the European
market (81 for the first time in 2013, adding to a total of over 350 NPS). Using semi-structured
interviews with 25 Dutch experienced recreational drug users, the role of the Internet and friends
in gathering and exchanging information about NPS was elaborated. Furthermore, we investigated
how NPS were acquired and which aspects make NPS more or less attractive, including their legal
status. It appeared that the Internet was an important source of information about NPS in general.
Personal experiences with NPS were preferably shared face-to-face with friends, as for privacy reasons
users were cautious to post their experiences on web sites and forums. NPS were usually obtained
or bought from friends or—to a lesser extent—purchased via the Internet. The preference for a specific
NPS depended on the desired effects (mostly stimulant or psychedelic), price (similar to MDMA or
amphetamine), duration of effect (preferably around four hours), and setting (at home, at festivals, or
in nightlife). Legal status was not relevant for the decision to use NPS. Most NPS are not superior to
the already marketed drugs, and do not displace conventional illicit drugs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of psychoactive drugs
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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