New psychoactive substances in prison


This report looks at the use of new psychoactive substances (NPS) in prison settings. This is a rapidly developing phenomenon, but empirical data are currently scarce and patchy. There is growing evidence that NPS are responsible for a large share of drug-related problems in some European prisons and appropriate responses are mostly lacking. This preliminary analysis is the outcome of a targeted rapid information assessment or ‘trendspotter’ study carried out by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) between August and December 2017. Trendspotter studies are based on a multi-method approach and expert opinion. They are intended to elaborate emerging issues and prompt discussion and, if required, more formal follow-up.

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Table of contents

  • Study rationale and methods
  • Extent and nature of NPS use in prisons in Europe
  • Supply of NPS to prisons
  • NPS-related harms
  • Responses to NPS in prison
  • Key issues
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgements
  • References