Novel Psychoactive Substance (NPS) awareness, use and health perception following The UK Psychoactive Substances Act 2016

Elena Deligianni, Omari-Jordan Daniel, John Corkery, Fabrizio Schifano, Lisa Lione

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Introduction: The risk of potential harms prompted the UK government to introduce The Psychoactive Substances Act (PSA) in 2016 banning the production, supply, importation and exportation of NPS 1. Here we investigate UK NPS awareness, use and knowledge of potential associated health risks prior to and following the 2016 PSA. Methods: The Bristol Online Survey was in English and advertised on the drug forum Bluelight and social media Facebook pages and University email between 7 January and 7 February 2015 (168 responses) and 9 March to 9 June 2017 (479 responses). UK country of residence responses were extracted for analysis. Results: Similar trends in UK NPS use, motivations and risk perception in 2015 and 2017 are seen despite the difference in number of survey responses and the recent ‘illegal’ status of NPS in the UK, although a 14% increase in UK NPS awareness is noted in 2017 (Table 1). The main motivation for UK NPS use remains to be the influence of friends and the preferred drug combination is NPS + alcohol. The effect of gender, age, sexual orientation, education level and employment status on NPS awareness and use (p<0.05, Chi squared test) will be presented. Conclusion: Despite the recent introduction of the UK 2016 PSA our 2017 survey indicates that UK NPS use remains higher than the rest of Europe (8%)2 and in line with UK NPS use in 2015. UK user and non-user perception of NPS safety has so far not altered, indicating a need for enhanced targeted prevention interventions, alongside regulation. 1Home Office (2016). Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, Home Office, London, available at: 2Global Drugs Survey. (2016) available at:
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2017
EventFifth International Conference on Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) - United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Vienna, Austria
Duration: 23 Oct 201724 Oct 2017


ConferenceFifth International Conference on Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS)


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