Although there is no universally accepted definition of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) , broadly they are referred to as substances of abuse, either in a pure form or a preparation, that are not controlled under the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs or the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, but which may pose a public health threat. Some NPS may be under a patchwork of national controls.

These substances are often deliberately chemically engineered to circumvent existing international and domestic drug control measures. NPS can be man-made, synthetic substances, or natural materials and generally encompass several groups of substances, such as synthetic cannabinoids, phenethylamines, synthetic cathinones, tryptamines, opioids etc.

To date over 800 different types of substances have been identified, while many of them quickly disappear out of the market. As the NPS market is always transient and fast-changing, timely sharing of information/ intelligence is key to effective response to them. The paradigm shift of NPS and related dangerous substances not under international control, but which may be under a patchwork of national controls, have increasingly become a concern of Member States, as reflected in numerous CND resolutions.



The NPS Task Force proposes, directs and reviews time-bound special operations that generate and communicate strategic and operational intelligence regarding suspicious shipment of, trafficking in, or manufacture or production of NPS. The information and intelligence is exchanged through Project Ion's global network of national focal points.




  • Establish and maintain a mechanism for multilateral operational activities;
  • Enable and support intelligence generation and dissemination (e.g., Special Alerts) to national focal points;
  • Raise awareness to the threat of and practical response to NPS;
  • Strengthen international partnerships and cooperation;
  • Provide access to the IONICS secure communication platform for the real-time sharing of actionable intelligence on incidents involving NPS between Governments.



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