Are New Psychoactive Substances dangerous?
New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), previously known as ‘legal highs’ can pose serious risks to the health of the user. They are easily accessible and often do not hold the same perceived threat to health as other drugs, however, the effects can be far stronger and more dangerous.
The number of New Psychoactive Substances available has increased rapidly, and between 2009-2010 and 2014-2015 there was a 44% increase in the number of hospital admissions due to these drugs. There is currently a lack of knowledge about the long-term health effects associated with these substances, and more monitoring and research is necessary.
Reporting the harmful effects of NPS
The Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have launched a pilot scheme to urge health professionals to report adverse reactions to illicit drugs, particularly new psychoactive substances.
This new scheme has been set up in conjunction with Public Health England to better understand the long-term health effects associated with the use of new psychoactive substances.
Health professionals working for the NHS across the UK are asked to fill in the ‘Report Illicit Drug Reactions’ form when they come into contact with patients experiencing harmful effects from the use of illicit drugs.
The form will be available for 1 year and is intended to be used by health professionals who work in A&E departments, GP surgeries, drug treatment services, sexual health services, mental health services, and any other NHS service which encounters people who have developed acute or chronic health problems because of the use of new psychoactive substances.
The reporting website offers the same reporting process on the Yellow Card website that is used to report adverse reactions to licensed medicines. The reporting website aims to offering a simple reporting process that the Yellow Card reporters will be familiar with already. Registered users will be able to log in with the same details.