The trend of increasing new psychoactive substances (NPS) and the difficulty for law enforcement to control their circulation prompted a study by the University of Queensland, Australia, which was part of an international wastewater surveillance program.
The study covered a three-year period—from 2019 to 2022—and 47 cities in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, China and Brazil.
The lead scientist Dr Richard Bade told UQ News that they detected 18 NPS in the wastewater samples from around the world.
"In Australia, we found seven new psychoactive substances, including mephedrone, ethylone and eutylone, which all have a similar effect to MDMA or cocaine," Bade said.
"We also found an increase in similar drugs in Europe, where there were high levels of 3-methylmethcathinone, particularly in Spain and Slovenia.
What Are NPS Drugs
New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) are synthetic or semi-synthetic substances that are designed to mimic the effects of traditional illicit drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, or amphetamines.