Novel Psychoactive Substances

1st Edition

Classification, Pharmacology and Toxicology

Editors: Paul Dargan David Wood
Hardcover ISBN: 9780124158160
eBook ISBN: 9780124159112
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 27th August 2013
Page Count: 440
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Novel Psychoactive Substances: Classification, Pharmacology and Toxicology provides readers with background on the classification, detection, supply and availability of novel psychoactive substances, otherwise known as "legal highs." This book also covers individual classes of novel psychoactive substances that have recently emerged onto the recreational drug scene and provides an overview of the pharmacology of the substance followed by a discussion of the acute and chronic harm or toxicity associated with the substance. Written by international experts in the field, this multi-authored book is a valuable reference for scientists, clinicians, academics, and regulatory and law enforcement professionals.

Key Features

  • Includes chapters written by international experts in the field.
  • Provides a comprehensive look at the classification, detection, availability and supply of novel psychoactive substances, in addition to the pharmacology and toxicology associated with the substance.
  • Offers a single source for all interested parties working in this area, including scientists, academics, clinicians, law enforcement and regulatory agencies.
  • Provides a full treatment of novel psychoactive substances that have recently emerged onto the recreational drug scene including mephedrone and the synthetic cannabinoid receptors in ‘spice’ / ‘K2’.


Research scientists and academics in pharmacology and toxicology, biochemists and healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses and paramedics, law enforcement and legislative authorities.

Table of Contents


List of Contributors

Section 1: Background

Chapter 1. Legal Classification of Novel Psychoactive Substances: An International Comparison


Traditional Control Mechanisms

Recent Developments


Chapter 2. Monitoring Novel Psychoactive Substances: A Global Perspective



The Identification, Risk Assessment and Monitoring of Novel Psychoactive Substances

The EU Ews Information Exchange

International, Regional and National Drug Monitoring Systems

Sources for Detecting and Monitoring Novel Psychoactive Substances



Chapter 3. Availability and Supply of Novel Psychoactive Substances


Novel Psychoactive Substance Market

NPS Origins and Market Entry

NPS Market Structure




Chapter 4. Epidemiology of Use of Novel Psychoactive Substances


General Population Surveys

Summary and Conclusions


Chapter 5. Social Issues in the Use of Novel Psychoactive Substances: Differentiated Demand and Ideological Supply



Prevalence in Context: Differentiated Demand in Different Leisure Venues

Understanding Motivations: The Displacement Question

Exploring Social Harms: Legislative Control and the Supply of NPS

Policy Options in a Changing World

The NPS Debate: Historical Stagnation and Vested Interests (A UK Perspective)



Section 2: Analytical Techniques

Chapter 6. Analytical Techniques for the Detection of Novel Psychoactive Substances and Their Metabolites


Analytical Methods Covering Several Classes of Novel Psychoactive Substances

Methods for Screening


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2013
Academic Press
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About the Editor

Paul Dargan

Drs. Dargan and Wood are both expert advisors to the UK Government (Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, ACMD), UK Law Enforcement Services (Association of Chief Police Officers and Serious Organised Crime Agencies) and the European Union (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, EMCDDA). They run a clinical service and have a clinical and research interest in novel psychoactive substances. They publish widely in this field and have both been invited to give keynote lectures at International meetings on this topic.

Affiliations and Expertise

Consultant Physician and Clinical Toxicologist, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London, London, UK

David Wood

Affiliations and Expertise

Consultant Physician and Clinical Toxicologist, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London, London, UK


"…this book provides up to date information on the classification, pharmacology, and toxicology of novel psychoactive substances often referred to as "legal highs" or "bath salts." The recreational abuse of these substances, driven by the twin engines of globalization and technology, has markedly expanded during the past decade…I highly recommend this book to anyone who is involved in investigating, treating, monitoring, or regulating the abuse of novel psychoactive substances."  Rating: 4, January 17, 2014
"The background, analytical techniques, and individual novel psychoactive substances are discussed by researchers in pharmaceuticals, law, public health, and various medical specialties. The topics include a global perspective on monitoring them, analytical techniques for detecting them and their metabolites, synthetic amphetamine derivatives, aminoindane analogues, ketamine, synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists, natural fungal and herbal substances, and benzofurans and benzodifurans."--Reference & Research Book News, December 2013
"This reference book comprehensively collates a vast range of facts and details about the recently much debated topic of novel psychoactive substances, including the much talked about ‘legal highs’…This book would be a useful reference source for those with a keen interest in novel psychoactive substances internationally, and appeal to those working in this specialist area whether in the field of research or academics, or clinically.", December 4, 2013