Why do young people take NPS?

It’s not always because a young person is having problems at home or at school. There are many reasons they may be attracted to trying NPS, formerly called NEDs:

  • A young person may be curious about drugs
  • Because they are perceived as legal, the young person may believe this means safe
  • Their friends may be using them
  • These substances are cheap to buy and easily available online
  • There is a false belief that everyone is doing drugs
  • It may be ‘peer pressure’ to fit in with a particular group 
  • A lack of accurate real information about the risks of taking NPS may result in taking risks
  • They think they can’t get into trouble taking a substance that is not currently illegal.

Over the last few years there has been a dramatic shift in the social context of substance misuse. A large number of new compounds and combinations, including research chemicals and pharmaceuticals, have been available to users including young and vulnerable people. The Internet is playing a key role here in their communication and distribution. Over the last 2 years the EU’s Web Mapping activities have led to the identification of 412 new emerging compounds, 151 chemical, 121 herbal and 140 combination drugs. This picture is however, continually changing.