I-TREND is a European research project which aims to help prevent health and social harms associated with New/Novel Psychoactives Substances (NPS), or ‘New Synthetic Drugs’. These substances are popularly referred to as ‘legal highs’ or ‘designer drugs’. They are widely available on the Internet.
18 researchers in 5 EU countries
I-TREND consists of 5 European countries (France, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Poland). Using a combination of data sources (e.g. law enforcement seizures, evidence on increased interest in NPS among users, NPS-related fatalities) and consultations with key stakeholders, each country will develop a Top List of NPS for in depth investigation.
A detailed overview of each selected NPS will be produced, covering various aspects such as toxicity information, toxicological content, legal status, user’s practices and perception. All this information is extracted from I-TREND activities (online survey, forums and webshops monitoring). Some of these substances, particularly popular in each country, will be further analyzed at international level in order to have a multicultural overview of the NPS phenomenon.
Analysis of drug Forums
- overview of user interest in specific substances.
- overview of NPS knowledge displayed and its role in influencing harm reduction strategies.
- compare attitudes towards NPS and current legal and illegal substances.
- evaluate the forum interaction as a mean to predict emerging substances and trends in use.
Toxicological analysis of substances
- purchase and diffuse substance standards among laboratory partners.
- purchase samples from selected online shops for quantitative toxicological analysis.
- sustain a network for sharing substance standards. Analytical capacity acquired by referent laboratories will also be explored.
Online SURVEY among NPS users
- current use of NPS (frequency, contexts, purchasing practices).
- motivations for using new substances, knowledge about health risks and legal issues.
- perception of online purchasing and criteria used in selecting retail websites.
Analysis of online shops
- most marketed substances available online in (language of) partner countries.
- dynamic list of the online shops selling NPS in each partner country.
- overview of the online market and marketing strategies, includingpricing and sale strategies adapted to specific age groups of customers, control measures and restrictions.
Identification of national and international most popular emerging NPS (TOP list)
- Selection of the most popular NPS in each country using a combination of various indicators , such as law enforcement seizures, case reports, forum analysis findings and online shop monitoring data.
Two kinds of outputs are expected : methodological outcomes and research results.
On this website you can find the following outputs :
- Top List of popular NPS: a short list of most popular or emerging NPS will be published and updated both at national and European level.
- National and International Substance briefings for each of the NPS chosen by the partner countries will be available in English (versions in partners national language will be available on the partners Institutions websites). The substance briefings will provide an overview of findings from the various I-TREND activities and existing health and law enforcement data related to the substance. For example, information will be provided on patterns of use, dosage, risk, effects, marketing strategies and availability andtoxicological composition of the substances sold online.
- Results of the online survey among NPS users: analysis will be done at national and international level allowing comparison between countries.
- Results of an online forums analysis at international level
- Results of an online shop marketing strategy analysis at international level
- Two softwares will be developed to automate online shops monitoring: a snapshot software, a scraper software
- Methodological guidelines: they will include understandings and limitations of all I-TREND activities in order to support further research.
The project began in April 2014 and will end in April 2015.