About the project
Project DRUGS-INFO-SITE organized in cooperation with 3. LFUK, ICT and selected field workplaces in the Czech Republic is an activity aimed at reducing risks associated with substance use.
The project enables proactive sampling of substances distributed and used in the Czech Republic. Sampling combined with subsequent content analysis may detect particularly risky contents, allowing to dispense warnings to the participants and provide consultation on the issue.
Sample collection and analysis are part of the 'NPS info' project approved by the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic in 2020 and 2021 (project no. AA-07-20). The project is focused on mapping the occurrence of new psychoactive substances / drugs, their risks and trends in use in the Czech Republic (in accordance with EU Regulation 2017/2101 EMCDDA).
New psychoactive substances of various (especially synthetic) origins mimic the effects of conventional drugs. Because they are more readily available, they often serve as their substitutes. Mostly through e-commerce, they have been spreading rapidly throughout Europe as well as non-European countries for many years. Since 2002, there have been detected about 700 of such substances. There is only limited information about the risks, dose responses, toxicity and interactions of these substances, and their use is often associated with serious intoxications or deaths. This goes especially for synthetic cannabinoids, cathinones, opioids, amphetamine derivatives and similar substances.
Lately, the potency and toxicity of new psychoactive substances is on the rise. Many are now effective in amounts that are near undetectable with conventional methodologies (e.g. highly toxic synthetic opioids in microgram or lower doses). Therefore, the amount of severe, sometimes fatal intoxications is on the rise. Furthermore, interactions of said substances with other recreational or pharmaceutical drugs are also dangerous.
New psychoactive substances are often distributed as 'Extasy' or other well-known subtances, as a substitute for the stated substance, or as an additive. The presence of uknown substances greatly complicates therapeutic intervention. It is therefore necessary to use all available means to raise awareness of the spread of new psychoactive substances and the risks associated with their use, and increase the effectivity of 'harm-reduction' activities.
Active sample collection directly from substance users effectively complements the picture about the actual spread of new psychoactive substances. The direct contact with users significantly increases the effectivity of preventive and therapeutic measures. It also helps to spread awareness among the users about widely underestimated area of substance use experiments. This hands-on approach ofthen helps in preventing severe intoxications.
The Drugs-Info-Site project allows active sampling of substances currently in use/circulation in the Czech Republic, and is potentially able to identify and warn about particularly hazardous substances. The sample collection is achieved through anonymous amnesty boxes.
The boxes are placed throughout the Czech Republic:
- In fixed positions in pre-determined clubs
- In fixed positions in pre-determined field workplaces (alongside an offer of consultation)
- In select parties/festivals (alongside an offer of consultation and/or on-site analysis)
The results of analyzes with a description of potential risks will be available through an individual specific code that the sample provider will receive in the process of filling in an anonymous questionnaire with information about the analyzed sample. Results of sample analyzes with risk description and other important information within 'Harm-reduction' activities will be placed in the DrugsInfoSite database.
The DrugsInfoSite project helps to supplement the currently missing information about the spread and use of new psychoactive substances in the Czech Republic, determine some of the often missing substance characteristics (e.g. toxicity, drug interactions) in accordance with the participation of Czech Republic in the monitoring of new risk phenomena within Europe, conducted by EWS EMCDDA. The project will also extend and improve preventive and harm-reduction activities in the Czech Republic.
Contact for the Drugs-Info-Site project:
doc. PharmDr. Magdaléna Šustková, CSc.; 3. LF UK