Understanding Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) and Emerging

Implications and Management

Course Overview

This comprehensive online course delves into the complex world of Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) and emerging substances, exploring them from various perspectives, such as health, society, and the individual user. Through a blend of live and pre-recorded sessions, students will gain a robust understanding of the risks, prevalence, acute effects, induced psychopathology, and clinical management of NPS.

The course endeavors to offer an in-depth and well-rounded exploration of Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) and the latest emerging substances. By drawing from a variety of expert perspectives, we seek to not only define and characterize these substances but also understand their impact on health, society, and policy. Through a multi-faceted approach, participants will be exposed to the historical context, pharmacological properties, societal implications, and the global trends associated with NPS. This comprehensive immersion is designed to equip attendees with a holistic grasp of the subject, empowering them to make informed decisions and contributions in their respective fields related to NPS.

The course starts with a live introduction to NPS, setting the stage for the deeper explorations in the pre-recorded sessions. The pre-recorded presentations offer flexibility for students to learn at their own pace, while also ensuring a consistent learning experience. The course concludes with a live online workshop that serves as a platform for discussion, reflection, and hands-on application of the knowledge gained during the course.

Course structure

The course endeavors to offer an in-depth and well-rounded exploration of Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) and the latest emerging substances. By drawing from a variety of expert perspectives, we seek to not only define and characterize these substances but also understand their impact on health, society, and policy. Through a multi-faceted approach, participants will be exposed to the historical context, pharmacological properties, societal implications, and the global trends associated with NPS. This comprehensive immersion is designed to equip attendees with a holistic grasp of the subject, empowering them to make informed decisions and contributions in their respective fields related to NPS.

1.Live webinar: Understanding Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS)

The course begins with a dynamic live introduction session, designed to set the tone and foundation for the subsequent modules. In this session, participants will be taken through a meticulously crafted outline detailing the course’s trajectory, ensuring clarity on the learning journey ahead. Beyond the structure, this introductory segment delves into a concise overview of Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS). Attendees will be provided with insights into the historical evolution of NPS, understanding how these substances emerged and the factors that influenced their rise. Furthermore, the session will shed light on the distinct characteristics that define NPS, distinguishing them from other substances. To give a global perspective, the introduction will also touch upon the prevalence and distribution of NPS in various regions, offering a panoramic view of their impact worldwide.

2. Pre-recorded Presentation: Risks and harms of NPS from the user’s perspective and regional differences in prevalence: social research results from Germany

Bernd Werse

In this illuminating session, participants will embark on a comprehensive exploration of the potential risks and adverse effects associated with Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS), especially through the lens of the end user. Delving deep into personal accounts and documented experiences, the discussion will shed light on the multifaceted challenges and dangers that users often encounter. This exploration provides a human-centric view of the issue, emphasizing real-world implications over theoretical conjectures.

In addition to the user-centric analysis, the session will pivot to a geographical assessment, highlighting the variances in NPS usage across different regions. A spotlight will be cast on Germany, where recent social research has unveiled intriguing patterns and statistics regarding NPS prevalence. By examining these findings, attendees will gain a nuanced understanding of the regional factors and socio-cultural dynamics that influence the consumption and impact of NPS in Germany, potentially serving as a microcosm for broader global trends.

3. Pre-recorded Presentation: Recreational Stimulants Compared to Cannabis: A Psychobiological Overview 

Andrew C Parrott

Delve into the rich tapestry of recreational stimulants and cannabis through a psychobiological lens. This presentation offers a thorough exploration of their molecular intricacies and the profound ways they resonate with the human system. By analyzing their mechanisms of action, we shine a light on the physiological and psychological terrains they navigate.

Stimulants and cannabis, when juxtaposed, reveal captivating contrasts. Beyond shared effects, they manifest unique influences on cognition, emotion, and behavior. For instance, while stimulants often elevate alertness and vigor, cannabis has the potential to subtly shape mood and perception.

Drawing upon cutting-edge research and enlightening case studies, this session promises a holistic view. It crafts a compelling narrative for attendees, enabling them to fathom the nuanced interplay of these substances with human physiology and psyche. Ultimately, it seeks to highlight their significant and sometimes understated roles in shaping our experiences and well-being.

4. Pre-recorded Presentation: New Psychoactive Substances: a threat to health security

Michael Evans – Brown

In the rapidly evolving landscape of drug consumption, New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) have emerged as a significant and potentially daunting concern. This presentation dives deep into the broader implications of NPS on the sanctity of global health security.

Beginning with a foundational understanding of what constitutes NPS, we will then shift focus to their increasing prevalence and the associated hazards they introduce. The proliferation of these substances poses not only direct health risks to users but also challenges the very fabric of public health infrastructures, due to their unpredictable effects and the constant evolution of new variants.

We will dissect the multi-faceted threats NPS present, ranging from acute medical emergencies stemming from overdose to the long-term health complications and potential for dependency. Furthermore, the session will discuss the strain on health resources, as health professionals grapple with limited knowledge and tools to diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate affected individuals.

5.Pre-recorded Presentation: Club drugs and induced psychopathology

Giovanni Martinotti

Club drugs, often synonymous with night-life and rave cultures, have more profound implications than just fleeting highs. This session takes an in-depth look at the psychopathological ramifications of such substances. Not only are these drugs potent in altering immediate perception and mood, but they also possess the potential to trigger long-term mental health disturbances.

Drawing on the latest research, we’ll unpack the psychological aftermath of regular and acute club drug consumption. From transient episodes of paranoia or hallucinations to more persistent issues like depression, anxiety, or cognitive impairment, the spectrum of induced psychopathology is broad and concerning. Beyond the direct effects on the individual, we’ll touch on the broader societal implications, including the strain on health care systems and familial relationships. With a goal to foster awareness and preventative strategies, this session offers a holistic understanding of club drugs’ intricate relationship with mental health.

6.Pre-recorded Presentation: Acute effects of a moderate dose of a synthetic cannabinoid (JWC-018): implications for psychosis

Eef Theunissen

Synthetic cannabinoids, particularly JWC-018, have gained attention not just for their mimicry of natural cannabis effects but also for their potential heightened risks. This session delves deeply into the acute ramifications of a moderate dosage of JWC-018. While natural cannabis and its effects are widely studied, synthetic variants like JWC-018 introduce a different spectrum of physiological and psychological outcomes.

Drawing from contemporary research and clinical findings, we will elucidate the immediate impacts of this synthetic compound on the brain and cognition. A central focus will be its potential to induce psychotic symptoms. These may range from transient auditory and visual hallucinations to more sustained altered states of reality perception, which can be particularly distressing for users.

7. Pre-recorded Presentation: Performance and Imaging Enhancing Drugs and related psychopathology: clinical issues

Pierluigi Simonato

The surge in the use of performance and imaging enhancing drugs has raised vital clinical concerns. This session delves into the multifaceted world of these substances, which, while designed to augment physical and cognitive capacities, may harbor unforeseen psychological repercussions. As we navigate this terrain, we’ll illuminate the fine line between enhancement and detriment. Key attention will be given to associated psychopathologies, which might manifest as mood disorders, cognitive dysfunctions, or altered perceptions. Drawing from contemporary clinical observations and research, our exploration will offer a comprehensive view, aiming to equip attendees with a nuanced understanding of the benefits, risks, and complexities tied to these drugs.

8. Pre-recorded Presentation: NPS, behaviour and the mind: controlled and naturalistic study with NPS

Pierluigi Simonato

The surge in the use of performance and imaging enhancing drugs has raised vital clinical concerns. This session delves into the multifaceted world of these substances, which, while designed to augment physical and cognitive capacities, may harbor unforeseen psychological repercussions. As we navigate this terrain, we’ll illuminate the fine line between enhancement and detriment. Key attention will be given to associated psychopathologies, which might manifest as mood disorders, cognitive dysfunctions, or altered perceptions. Drawing from contemporary clinical observations and research, our exploration will offer a comprehensive view, aiming to equip attendees with a nuanced understanding of the benefits, risks, and complexities tied to these drugs.

4. Presentation 3: New Psychoactive Substances: a threat to health security This presentation explores the implications of NPS on global health security, outlining the potential threats and challenges to public health systems.

5. Presentation 4: Club drugs and induced psychopathology This session delves into the psychopathological effects induced by club drugs, providing a comprehensive understanding of their impact on mental health.

6. Presentation 5: Acute effects of a moderate dose of a synthetic cannabinoid (JWC-018): implications for psychosis This presentation examines the acute effects of a moderate dose of a synthetic cannabinoid (JWC-018) and its implications for psychosis.

7. Presentation 6: Performance and Imaging Enhancing Drugs and related psychopathology: clinical issues An exploration of the clinical issues related to the use of performance and imaging enhancing drugs, with a particular focus on associated psychopathologies.

8. Presentation 7: NPS, behaviour and the mind: controlled and naturalistic study with NPS This session investigates the effects of NPS on behaviour and the mind, offering insights from both controlled and naturalistic studies with NPS.

9. Presentation 8: Did the use of crystal meth increase with the ease of COVID 19 lockdown restrictions, leading to increased hospital admissions? An evidence-based investigation into whether the ease of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions led to an increase in the use of crystal meth and subsequent hospital admissions.

10. Presentation 9: Clinical management of NPS in different settings (clinical cases) This presentation discusses the practical aspects of managing NPS in different settings, backed by clinical case studies.

11. Live Online Workshop: Applying Knowledge to Practice The course wraps up with a live workshop, where students can discuss the course material, ask questions, share experiences, and apply their newfound knowledge to hypothetical scenarios and case studies.

1.Live webinarUnderstanding Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) 

The course begins with a dynamic live introduction session, designed to set the tone and foundation for the subsequent modules. In this session, participants will be taken through a meticulously crafted outline detailing the course’s trajectory, ensuring clarity on the learning journey ahead. Beyond the structure, this introductory segment delves into a concise overview of Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS). Attendees will be provided with insights into the historical evolution of NPS, understanding how these substances emerged and the factors that influenced their rise. Furthermore, the session will shed light on the distinct characteristics that define NPS, distinguishing them from other substances. To give a global perspective, the introduction will also touch upon the prevalence and distribution of NPS in various regions, offering a panoramic view of their impact worldwide.

2. Pre-recorded Presentation: Risks and harms of NPS from the user’s perspective and regional differences in prevalence: social research results from Germany 

In this illuminating session, participants will embark on a comprehensive exploration of the potential risks and adverse effects associated with Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS), especially through the lens of the end user. Delving deep into personal accounts and documented experiences, the discussion will shed light on the multifaceted challenges and dangers that users often encounter. This exploration provides a human-centric view of the issue, emphasizing real-world implications over theoretical conjectures.

In addition to the user-centric analysis, the session will pivot to a geographical assessment, highlighting the variances in NPS usage across different regions. A spotlight will be cast on Germany, where recent social research has unveiled intriguing patterns and statistics regarding NPS prevalence. By examining these findings, attendees will gain a nuanced understanding of the regional factors and socio-cultural dynamics that influence the consumption and impact of NPS in Germany, potentially serving as a microcosm for broader global trends.

3. Pre-recorded Presentation: Recreational Stimulants Compared to Cannabis: A Psychobiological Overview 

Dive deep into the nuanced world of recreational stimulants and cannabis. This presentation offers a detailed psychobiological analysis, highlighting their molecular structures, mechanisms of action, and effects on the body and mind. By contrasting stimulants with cannabis, we uncover their unique impacts on cognition, emotions, and behavior. Drawing from current research and case studies, we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of how these substances intertwine with human physiology and psychology, shedding light on their intricate interactions and the profound influences they exert on our systems.

3. Presentation 2: Recreational stimulants compared to cannabis: a psychobiological overview An in-depth analysis of recreational stimulants in comparison to cannabis from a psychobiological perspective, exploring their effects on the human body and mind.

4. Presentation 3: New Psychoactive Substances: a threat to health security This presentation explores the implications of NPS on global health security, outlining the potential threats and challenges to public health systems.

5. Presentation 4: Club drugs and induced psychopathology This session delves into the psychopathological effects induced by club drugs, providing a comprehensive understanding of their impact on mental health.

6. Presentation 5: Acute effects of a moderate dose of a synthetic cannabinoid (JWC-018): implications for psychosis This presentation examines the acute effects of a moderate dose of a synthetic cannabinoid (JWC-018) and its implications for psychosis.

7. Presentation 6: Performance and Imaging Enhancing Drugs and related psychopathology: clinical issues An exploration of the clinical issues related to the use of performance and imaging enhancing drugs, with a particular focus on associated psychopathologies.

8. Presentation 7: NPS, behaviour and the mind: controlled and naturalistic study with NPS This session investigates the effects of NPS on behaviour and the mind, offering insights from both controlled and naturalistic studies with NPS.

9. Presentation 8: Did the use of crystal meth increase with the ease of COVID 19 lockdown restrictions, leading to increased hospital admissions? An evidence-based investigation into whether the ease of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions led to an increase in the use of crystal meth and subsequent hospital admissions.

10. Presentation 9: Clinical management of NPS in different settings (clinical cases) This presentation discusses the practical aspects of managing NPS in different settings, backed by clinical case studies.

11. Live Online Workshop: Applying Knowledge to Practice The course wraps up with a live workshop, where students can discuss the course material, ask questions, share experiences, and apply their newfound knowledge to hypothetical scenarios and case studies.