Globally, NPS are proliferating at an unprecedented rate, due to the ease of modifying the chemical structures of substances to create new compounds with psychoactive effects.
NPS are illicit in nature, and are known to be abused recreationally, clandestinely manufactured and associated with overdose fatalities or adverse reactions. There is generally a lack of information regarding their pharmacological effects and toxicities.
Most synthetic NPS identified globally in the last decade are stimulants followed by synthetic cannabinoids and hallucinogens. NPS with opioid effects, which include fentanyl analogues and new chemical classes of synthetic opioids which are particularly harmful, has seen a significant increase in recent years.
Singapore regularly reviews its strategies to improve the detection and regulation of NPS. This includes the regular listing of NPS that have emerged in the global market that have no licit uses. A significant proportion of the NPS reported overseas are already currently controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act.