University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2566
JournalHuman Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2017


A range of information needs should be met in order to better understand and predict the longevity/existence of Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS). This conceptual paper argues that one way of assessing how long a molecule may be around is to document how the lifecycles or natural histories of ‘traditional’ drugs and NPS evolve. The earliest indication of the possible appearance of a new substance might be evidenced on the DeepWeb. However, this means they are less visible, in line with the clandestine nature of drug use and supply.
Therefore, monitoring discussion groups/fora needs the development of new methods compared to those used in the Surface Net. Issues needing consideration in establishing NPS life-cycles are outlined here, together with the probable outcomes that could result. The approach advocated means that it should be easier to identify which NPS are likely to come up or are emerging in real time, and, therefore, pre-empt/prevent their supply.


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: John Martin Corkery, Laura Orsolini, Duccio Papanti, and Fabrizio Schifano, 'From concept(ion) to life after death/the grave: The ‘natural’ history and life cycle(s) of novel psychoactive substances (NPS), Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, Vol. 32 (3), e2566, May 2017, doi: This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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