Designer drugs, or new psychoactive substances (NPS), are synthetic chemicals that mimic the effects of classic drugs of abuse. There has been an alarming worldwide increase in the abuse of NPS in recent years. NPS are cheap, easy to obtain, and often legally available. In this volume, leading experts summarize the latest studies regarding the molecular mechanisms of action, behavioral effects, and adverse consequences of popular NPS. Specific chapters clarify the differences between various types of NPS, namely: stimulants, cannabinoids and hallucinogens. Thus, this volume broadens our understanding of NPS and provides insight into the rapidly evolving “new drug” phenomenon.
Preface.- Introduction to the growing problem of new psychoactive substances (NPS). Historical perspective on the emergence of cathinone-related compounds as drugs of abuse. Interactions of cathinone NPS with human transporters and receptors in transfected cells. Effects of synthetic cathinones on electrophysiological activity of monoamine transporters. Pharmacology of 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), its metabolites, and related analogs in the rat. Effects of ring-substituted cathinones on intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) in rats. Reinforcing effects of cathinone NPS in the drug self-administration paradigm. Self-administration of mephedrone and related "empathogen-type" NPS. Rewarding and aversive effects of synthetic cathinones in the rat. Comparative actions of MDMA, methylone and MDPV on brain temperature. Neurotoxicology of synthetic cathinone analogs. Structure-activity relationships for synthetic cannabinoid compounds. Role of active metabolites in the in vivo pharmacology of synthetic cannabinoid analogs. Behavioral pharmacology of newly emerging cannabinoid NPS. Behavioral pharmacology of synthetic hallucinogens. Clinical pharmacology of the synthetic cathinone mephedrone. Assessment of synthetic drug identification and pharmacology in a naturalistic setting. Medical consequences associated with the abuse of NPS.