what's behind it?  • Profiling Institute

what’s behind it? • Profiling Institute

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New psychoactive substances, also known as “legal highs”, have been a problem for some time, especially among young people. But what exactly is behind these conditions? What are these substances? What are the dangers? And how do you deal with it as a parent when a child is consumed or interested?

New psychoactive substances

First and foremost, it should be an explanation of what exactly is hidden behind the terms new psychoactive substances (NPS) or “legal highs” and since when have they been a problem. New psychoactive substances or “legal highs” are common. synthetically produced substances that are psychoactive. Sometimes also fall herbal drugs under conditions. and number of these substances in recent years increased significantly. End 2017 according to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction 670 new psychoactive substances. Substances affect you state of drunkenness PUSH. They are said to either trigger a soothing smokey state or invigorate enough to induce hallucinogenic smokey states.

The substances are sold as, among other things “bath salts”, “incense blends” or “research chemicals”. Research chemicals, because some of these substances were just by-products of pharmacological research before they hit the market as new psychoactive substances. Research chemicals are pure substances contained in NPS. Currently, specific names for NPS are common “Spice” or “Blast”. They are mainly traded on the Internet online shops.

Drugs are referred to as “legal highs” because they are a supposedly legal alternative to sell known and illegal drugs. That’s because the chemical structure of substances is repeatedly changed so that they are no longer subject to valid narcotics laws. This also explains why there are so many new psychoactive substances because the structure is constantly changing so that they are supposedly legal.

This altered chemical structure does not mean that the substances have less impact on the psyche than those already illegal. The psychoactive effect remains and, on the contrary, sometimes even increases.

Most of the materials used are current synthetic cannabinoids, cathinones and phenethylamines. They make up about two-thirds of the current substances. Synthetic cannabinoids cannot be detected by conventional standard drug screening. In blood or urine tests, on the contrary, yes.

However, this “legal loophole”, which led to the perceived legality of new psychoactive substances, was closed in 2016 “New Act on Psychoactive Substances” (NpSG) closed in Germany. This law aims to combat the spread of such substances. Whole groups of substances are banned in this law, which means that small chemical changes in substances no longer lead to the circumvention of existing laws and bans. The law applies to substances or substances that can be derived from the substance groups 2-phenethylamine, cannabinoid mimetics/synthetic cannabinoids, benzodiazepines, N-(2-aminocyclohexyl)amide or tryptamine.


Due to the constant new compositions and changes, it is difficult to keep track of which new psychoactive substances are currently available. On the other side are these substances no reliable data on their harmfulness, exact effect or long-term consequences, unlike already established illegal drugs. It is so it is not clear what specific risks consuming substances entails and exactly as they are has a long-term effect on the organism. However, it is believed that the risks may be many times higher than for illegal drugs that have already been studied, and that the risk of addiction appears to be high in some cases.

Just as the consequences of consumption are not predictable, so it is The effect of substances on consumers is difficult to predict, as the composition, dosage of the substance and purity can change again and again and the packaging usually does not indicate which substances are in the product. That’s usually how it is it is not clear which active substance is contained in the product and in what concentration is here. Therefore, the consumer cannot necessarily assume the same method of action, dosage and the same side effects when consuming the allegedly already known product again.

Also NPS can partially strong side effects triggers such as tachycardia, circulatory problems, anxiety or psychosis. In recent years, there have also been repeated cases of people dying from NPS consumption, including as a result of poisoning, overdose or side effects.

What can parents do?

Parents who learn that their child is taking or intending to take new psychoactive substances can feel overwhelmed and helpless at first. Below are some behavior tips that can help you deal with the situation. However, it is always judge individually what seems appropriate and useful in a given situation.

First of all, it makes sense to you inform about NPS. This lays the foundation for further activity. You can find more information on this topic on many other websites.

It is also convenient talk to someone close. It could be your partner, your own parents, a friend or someone else. The topic can then be solved together.

As a rule, it is then appropriate talk to the child about the situation or suspicion. This is where it’s important not directly into blame and accusation fail, but approach the child as openly as possible. This also means that parents’ uncertainty and concerns can and should be addressed. It is also helpful to want to understand the child’s motivation. Why does the child take NPS, what are the motives. As already described, the interview should not be accompanied by blaming and devaluing the child, but rather should present relevant perspectives and critically examine drug use.

If the parents do not get further, do not dare to talk, circumstances do not allow them or they simply want more support and information, it is always appropriate seek help and advice from external experts. Here you can thoroughly clarify any questions that may arise, and discuss how to proceed further. Parents can contact youth and/or drug counseling centers in the area. These can usually be found using an internet search. Specialists can then provide on-site support and refer you further if necessary.

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