EPS NPS Project
Novel Psychoactive: the new challenging drug market
Project duration: 2015 > 2017
Partners: Rissc – University of Hertfordshire – Eötvös Loránd University – University of Szczecin – Interpol
Project funded by the Drug Prevention and Information Programme of the European Union
NPS can be described as those substances that are not controlled at the international level. This means that their legal status depends mostly on national legislations and, therefore, they may be legal in one country and illegal in another one. For this reason, NPS could be considered more a socio-criminological notion rather than a juridical or legal one. Both enforcement and research activities are suffering from some NPS intrinsic characteristics that make both investigating and analyzing these substances particularly challenging. Consequently, also the existing knowledge base continues to be fragmented and often built on partial data (in particular seizures data), which offer an incomplete overview of the phenomenon and are not able to follow its rapid changes.
“The adoption of the so-called “substitution strategy” (namely as soon as one of its components is scheduled, the product is replaced with a new one that is not controlled, but provokes similar effects) is used in the NPS market in order to avoid penal punishment and mitigate law enforcement risk”
(RiSSC, Intermediate EPS/NPS Research Report, Criminological Analysis. Supply chain)
Some of these relevant features relate to the NPS status, namely to their official international definition and to the legislative questions concerning the drugs scheduling process, while others refer to their chemical nature and their impact on (individual and public) health. In particular, as underlined also by LEAs, NPS deserve specific attention because they:
- Have not an official international definition and the drugs scheduling process is still uncertain
- Have an ambiguous legal status
- Have a transient nature
- Are peculiar with respect to other illicit drugs (e.g. they can be produced easily; even if consumed in small quantity, they provoke a great effect; they are odourless and not easily traceable through chemical analysis)
What’s the project aim?
Respond to the need of theoretical and operational knowledge on NPS;
Empower LEAs and national competent authorities, facilitating information sharing and enhancing structural cooperation.