Drug Early Warning Systems – the key to preparedness and response to new psychoactive substances
Over the past decade, the globalisation of drug markets and new technologies have led to an increase in the number and types of risks facing people who use both new psychoactive substances (NPS) and controlled drugs, leading to a resilient and highly dynamic market. Since January 2020, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has led to major disruptions in trade and travel across the world. As the supply chains for drugs are globalised, it is critical to assess the impact of the pandemic on the drug markets, including on the availability of controlled drugs and new psychoactive substances. There is, more than ever, a need for a high level of vigilance in order to ensure early detection, reporting, assessment, and responses to changes to the drug markets that may have a high impact on public health. Early warning systems (EWS) continue to play a central role by providing reliable information in a timely manner, and are critical to facilitate an effective public health response. The aim of this session is to provide an overview of diverse international and regional models of EWS on NPS and assess the impact of Covid-19 in NPS and emerging drug trends.