Assessing patterns of use of new psychoactive substances (NPS) – the NPS Euronet project
The aim of the NPS Euronet project was to study the pattern of use of new psychoactive substances (NPS) in Europe by investigating their occurrence in different matrices, i.e. urban wastewater and urine. Qualitative and quantitative methods were developed based on liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. The study included 26 cities in 15 countries, 6 music festivals and over 2000 urine samples from hospital emergency rooms. Results indicated generally a low consumption of NPS both in the general population and in specific cohorts (i.e. festivals attendees) compared to the classical drugs such as ecstasy and cocaine. The combined analyses of wastewater and urine samples in different countries and events allowed giving additional information of the patterns of use of NPS including spatial and temporal trends. This project was relevant to improve the information on NPS use and support the implementation of EU legislation on NPS.