New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), or so called 'legal highs' are substances which produce the same or similar effects to drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, LSD and ecstasy. Although similar to established drugs, these chemical's effects can be inconsistent and drug effect, potency and time to onset vary considerably between batches and suppliers. Up until recently NPS were not controlled under legislation (Misuse of Drugs Act 1971) in the UK. However, on 26 May 2016 the New Psychoactive Substances Act became law and it is now an offence to produce, supply or offer to supply any psychoactive substance if the substance is likely to be used for its psychoactive effects.
NPS cannot be considered safe. Across the UK, 144 deaths were linked to NPS in 2014. In Scotland in 2014 a number of hospitalisations were attributed to these drugs and they were also implicated in 62 deaths.
Ayrshire and Arran Drug Trend Monitoring Group
The Ayrshire and Arran Drug Trend Monitoring group was established in 2011 in response to reports of people using new drugs in Ayrshire.
The group has developed a monitoring form which everyone who lives or works in Ayrshire or Arran are encouraged to complete when they have information regarding new drugs, drug users or drug trends in Ayrshire. This monitoring form is the basis of an early warning system - we share the information collected from these forms throughout the area. When required the group also devises or sources factsheets, prevalence information and additional reading to disseminate.