Rise of synthetic highs a ‘concern’

More than 250 types of EPS or synthetic highs were identified in Europe last year, exceeding the number of substances under international control for the first time.

The Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS) survey conducted earlier this year revealed that 44% of 686 regular psychostimulant users had taken an EPS, including synthetic cannabis, in the previous six months, compared to 40% in 2012.

Dr Lucy Burns, of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), told a Melbourne drug trends conference today there was evidence users were inadvertently taking drugs with hallucinogenic properties, such as the phenethylamine 2C-X family, and exposing themselves to unexpected harm.

“It’s a concern,” she said. “There have been fatalities.

“One reason why users might take an EPS, such as 2C-B or 2C-I, is that it may have been passed off as ecstasy in order to get a higher price for the drug.