New psychoactive substances (also known as ‘synthetic cannabis’, ‘party pills’ and ‘legal highs’) are proliferating internationally at an unprecedented rate.
These substances pose a significant risk to public health, with authorities having little ability to track and monitor changing trends.
Our ‘Border to Grave’ project is building a surveillance framework for the identification of new psychoactive substances across ESR’s drug testing activities.
The project will provide a novel perspective on the link between the identification of new drugs at the border, through to their real time use and abuse in the community, including motor vehicle accidents, criminal case work and drug-affected patients admitted to emergency departments. The project will sit alongside the work of our Environmental Scientists looking at drugs in waste water.
The project will enable identification of emerging psychoactive drug patterns and trends in New Zealand, and be a formative part of a drug early warning system.