Novel Psychoactive Substances Seminar

Written by on July 20, 2015

Novel Psychoactive Substances or NPS is a term used to refer to any drug that is considered to be new. The term is used inconsistently, with some organisations (including government departments) lumping in less known about older drugs to the NPS category.

Harm Reduction Victoria are presenting a seminar on NPS, on Tuesday the 28th of July to blow out some of the hot air and breathe some non-ideological truth into the discussion.

Despite the inconsistencies surrounding the term, there are many drugs that are actually quite new which have entered both the grey market and black market. These have been referred to as a whole swathe of other names, including legal highs, bath salts, fake drugs, synthetic cannabis, synthetic drugs, party pills and a variety of colourful brand and slang names.

For people who use drugs, these new drugs pose a series of important questions. Some people may choose to seek out and purchase these drugs, perhaps because of their grey area legality, inability to be tested for under most workplace drug testing regimes, the psychonaut’s curiosity, research purposes or desire to purchase a drug from a non-black market source.

Because these are new drugs, there is nearly no information available on the risks, benefits, toxicology and subjective effects of these drugs. There are anecdotes available on the internet on various factors of NPS, but it is difficult to know how reliable data is, especially considering that some people may be providing false anecdotal evidence in order to drive demand for certain NPS.


NPS provide unique challenges for those working in drug treatment and harm reduction, as well as those looking for more pragmatic, less ideological solutions to regulation of the psychoactive substances market broadly. The rise of new drugs has illuminated the glaring holes in an ill-informed, unscientific and ideologically driven drug regulation strategy. The prohibiting of drugs without any reflection of their risk potential, or their benefits, has been a resolute failure in public health policy, creating and compounding harms associated with drug misuse through a campaign of targeted misinformation and scare tactics, punitive policy and thinly disguised bigotry in policing against a sub-culture of people within our society who choose alternative psychoactive substances to the socially-sanctioned alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.



Harm Reduction Victoria’s NPS Seminar will shine a light into the emerging crevices in an ongoing drug war. Grab your ticket to Tuesday the 28th of July’s event in Melbourne.

Harm Reduction Victoria has brought together four of Australia’s leading experts on novel psychoactive substances, to discuss: their prevalence, trends in use, the legality and effects.

Featuring presentations by:

  • Dr. David Caldicott – Emergency Consultant & Clinical Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine at the Australian National University, widely published author, designed & piloted Welsh Emergency Department Investigation of Novel Substances (WEDINOS) project in the UK  and long time harm reduction & pill testing advocate
  • Fiona Patten MLC – Leader of the Australian Sex Party & former CEO of Australia’s national adult retail association, the Eros Association
  • Stephanie Tzanetis – Coordinator of Harm Reduction Victoria’s renowned and highly successful DanceWize program
  • Dr. Stephen Bright – Ethnopharmacologist, founding member of PRISM, published author and advocate of harm reduction and evidence-based AOD approaches.

Hear the latest research and find out whether these substances are an amazing breakthrough for mankind or a potential disaster.

For more information: HRVic’s Substance Specific Series – Novel/New Psychoactive Substances Seminar

Current track