New psychoactive substances tested by Energy Control, a community-based service of drug-checking and harm-reduction in Spain

Friday, 25 November, 2022 - 10:50 to 12:20
Central square 3 (C3)


According to the EMCCDA, 400 new psychoactive substances (NPS) are on the market each year and 1.4% of Europeans used them in 2019. Most of the information on NPS came from seizures and little is known about the NPS analyzed by community-based services of drug-checking. The objective of this study is to describe the NPS analyzed by Energy Control (EC), between 2016 and 2021 by their main pharmacological characteristics and how users acquired them.

Information was retrieved from the four EC locations (Madrid, Catalonia, Andalusia, and Balearic Islands). The main pharmacological groups for categorizing NPS were: Arylalkylamine, Arylcyclohexylamines, Benzodiazepines, Synthetic Cannabinoids, Cathinones (CA), Phenethylamines (PH), Opioids and Tryptamines (TP). Users reported sources of acquisition including Deep Web (DW), Internet, bought on the street, in a party or from a dealer. Comparisons of NPS by year and sources of acquisition were performed using Chi Square tests. A total of 953 NPS were tested between 2016 and 2021, 57.3% were PH (i.e. 2C-B), 12.8% were CA (i.e. 3-MMC) and 10.1% were TP (i.e. 4-AcO-DMT). Of the NPS tested, 37.5% were obtained on the Internet, 27.6% from a dealer and 17.3% on the DW. Between 2016 and 2021 sources of acquisition changed from 4.5% to 18.7% in the case of DW, 57.0% to 27.7% in the case of internet and 21.5% to 37.4% in the case of dealers. By pharmacological groups, while in 2016, 33.3% of the PH were acquired on the Internet, dealers were the source of 52,5% of the PH acquired in 2021.

Community-based services of drug-checking represent a useful source of information about the use of NPS and can therefore be used to elaborate effective harm-reduction strategies.


Presentation files

25 A4 1050 Adrià Quesada_v1.0.pdf807.86 KBDownload



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