New/emerging psychoactive substances and associated psychopathological consequences

Fabrizio Schifano, Flavia Napoletano, Stephania Chiappini, Amira Guirguis, John Corkery, Stefania Bonaccorso, Angelo Ricciardi, Norbert Scherbaum, alessandro vento

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


BackgroundThe present paper provides an updated review of both the large number of new/novel/emerging psychoactive substances (NPS) and their associated psychopathological consequences. Focus was here given on identification of those NPS being commented in specialised online sources and the related short-/long-term psychopathological and medical ill-health effects.MethodsNPS have been identified through an innovative crawling/navigating software, called the 'NPS.Finder®', created in order to facilitate the process of early recognition of NPS online. A range of information regarding NPS, including chemical and street names; chemical formula; three-dimensional image and anecdotally reported clinical/psychoactive effects, were here made available.ResultsUsing the 'NPS.Finder®' approach, a few thousand NPS were here preliminarily identified, a number which is about 4-fold higher than those figures suggested by European and international drug agencies. NPS most commonly associated with the onset of psychopathological consequences included here synthetic cannabinoids/cannabimimetics; new synthetic opioids; ketamine-like dissociatives; novel stimulants; novel psychedelics and several prescription and over-the-counter medicines.ConclusionsThe ever-increasing changes in terms of recreational psychotropics' availability represent a relatively new challenge for psychiatry, as the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of many NPS have not been thoroughly understood. Health/mental health professionals should be informed about the range of NPS; their intake modalities; their psychoactive sought-after effects; the idiosyncratic psychotropics' combinations and finally, their medical and psychopathological risks.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychological Medicine
Early online date22 Jul 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jul 2019


  • new psychoactive substances (NPS)
  • Psychedelics
  • drug-induced psychosis
  • prescribing drug misuse
  • drug misuse
  • NPS
  • psychedelics
  • Drug-induced psychosis
  • new psychoactive substances


Dive into the research topics of 'New/emerging psychoactive substances and associated psychopathological consequences'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this