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New psychoactive substances in Australia: patterns and characteristics of use, adverse effects, and interventions to reduce harm

Sutherland, R, Allsop, S and Peacock, A ORCID: 0000-0002-5705-2026 2020 , 'New psychoactive substances in Australia: patterns and characteristics of use, adverse effects, and interventions to reduce harm' , Current Opinion in Psychiatry, vol. 33, no. 4 , pp. 343-351 , doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000606.

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Abstract

Purpose of review:To summarize the most recent peer-review literature on new psychoactive substances (NPS) within Australia.Recent findings:NPS use among the general Australian population is low, yet more pervasive among specificsubpopulations. There is considerable heterogeneity among people who use NPS, however, overall, theyare not unique from those who use more established illicit drugs. NPS have been shown to be highlyadulterated, used as contaminants, variable in dose, and changeable as to the specific substancesavailable over time. Further, analyses of coroners’ cases highlight the importance of consumerunderstanding of NPS effects, particularly where they differ substantially to their more traditional illicit drugcounterparts (e.g., synthetic vs. plant cannabinoids). One study posited that legislative approaches to NPShave been (partially) effective in reducing harms, and there are new systems being established to identifyNPS-related health harms.Summary:There have been few studies recently published on NPS in Australia (n ¼ 17), however, findings mostlyalign with the international literature with respect to the rapidly changing nature of the NPS market, the useof NPS as adulterants, and associated harms. These themes highlight the need for proactive, novelapproaches to rapidly identify, and respond to emerging drugs of concern.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Sutherland, R and Allsop, S and Peacock, A
Keywords: Australia, harms, new psychoactive substance, prevalence, review
Journal or Publication Title: Current Opinion in Psychiatry
Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Ltd.
ISSN: 0951-7367
DOI / ID Number: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000606
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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