Varies as this is an umbrella term!  Some brand names are Benzo Fury, Clockwork Orange, Vertex, Spice,  Charlie White, Ivory Wave.

Legal to possess and use however the new Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, makes is illegal to produce stock or offer to supply or import psychoactive substances. Exemptions are those covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act. nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and medical products. If you buy online from an overseas website you could be committing an offence for importing psychoactive substances. 

Varies due to wide variety available

Due to NPS being an umbrella term there are stimulant, depressant and hallucinogenic varieties. 

  • Novel psychoactive substances are also known as legal highs, however this is not generally true as a lot aren’t legal nor are they safe.
  • Novel psychoactive substances come in small packets that usually have bright colours and images which make them appealing to young people.
  • Effects of novel psychoactive substances can include reduced inhibitions, drowsiness, excited or paranoid states, coma, seizures and, in a few cases, death.
  • A lot are sold as room odourisers, bath salts, incense, smoking mixes and carry the warning “Not For Human Consumption”.
  • Novel psychoactive substances should be avoided if there is a history of heart problem or an existing health issues with the heart.
  • This depends on the type of substance you are taking as novel psychoactive substances can fall into any category i.e. hallucinogen (altering perceptions and making you hallucinate), stimulant (making you feel energised) or depressant/downers (making you feel relaxed/slowing your body down) and all of these have a different impact on health.
  • The chemicals in novel psychoactive substances have not been used in drugs for human consumption before. This means they haven’t been tested to show that they are safe.  You can never be certain what you are taking and what the effects might be.
  • Using novel psychoactive substances with alcohol and any other drugs increases the risk to you and the effects can be unpredictable.
  • Novel psychoactive substances can have ranging effects such as drowsiness, paranoia, excitement, euphoria, chattiness, forgetfulness, feelings of increased anxiety and in some cases can lead to death.
  • The long term effects of novel psychoactive substances are unknown as they are emerging drugs, therefore the long term impact on your health is largely unknown.
  • The negative effects of some novel psychoactive substances can take a few days to wear off completely, just like the comedown from a stimulant, such as cocaine or amphetamine.
  • There have been some anecdotal reports that young people have experienced sweating, shakes, agitation, inability to focus, panic and anxiety when experiencing withdrawal symptoms from novel psychoactive substances.
  • Don’t mix novel psychoactive substances with other novel psychoactive substances – the mash up of chemicals could result in serious health risks and produce very unexpected effects.
  • Novel psychoactive substances should not be used with alcohol. Mixing any drug with alcohol increases the health risks.
  • Users may experience feelings of anxiety and paranoia; it is important to ensure that you are in a safe, comfortable environment and with people you trust when you use.
  • User should try a small amount and wait for the effects to kick in before taking more (this could take a while, be patient). Always start with a very small dose (match-head size or less) and give time for previous doses to wear off before taking any more.
  • Novel psychoactive substances should be avoided if there is a history of or existing mental health problems including anxiety.
  • If you begin to feel uncomfortable effects such as hallucinations, breathing problems, fast heart rate or chest pains then medical help should be sought immediately, call for an ambulance if needed.
  • Do not take them alone.
  • Try to have some days where you don’t use novel psychoactive substances – using intermittently with days of non-use in between is better than using on most days.
  • Some packaging will say that novel psychoactive substances have herbal chemicals which can leave you thinking that they are safe to use, but this is not true as each substance has synthetic chemicals (artificial and not natural) in them.
  • Some of the products that are sold can be illegal and controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act.  It is unlikely that the people who manufacture them or those that sell know this.
  • BE CAREFUL about using novel psychoactive substances in bongs and pipes as it can be very easy to take too much and can be difficult to regulate your use.
  • If peers try to create games then don’t play such as being competitive about how much you can use, be cautious as the prize can result in an overdose.
  • DO NOT drive or operate machinery whilst under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.
  • Telling someone you can use drugs can be difficult but in order for you to keep yourself safe tell someone you trust or the person you are with what you are taking.