Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Quick Launch


 Latest EWS alerts

1 - 10Next

 Evolution of purity of illicit drugs in Belgium for the period 2002-2015


Cannabis (herbal)

 Cannabis (resin)












 New psychoactive substances found in Belgium in 2016

The number of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) detected in Belgium can be found in the graph below. Data for the last years are provided in the graph.
In 2016, 107 NPS were detected on Belgian territory, which represents a small decrease compared to 2015, and is not in line with the increasing trend that was observed the last couple of years. Similar decreases are seen at the EU level.

 Latest news

NPS BE 2018.jpg

Created: 15/03/2019 12:23

On 12 January 2018 the Dutch National Focal Point reported to the EMCDDA that in the last week, atropine has been detected in samples of cocaine and ketamine from North Brabant, Netherlands. In addition, they reported that poisonings suspected to involve atropine have been reported earlier this month in North Brabant and the Rotterdam region [1].

In addition to these reports, the Belgian National Focal Point also reported today that there has been at least three cases in the past week in the Antwerp region of Belgium where atropine was detected in the urine of known cocaine users. The Focal Point reported that atropine has not yet been detected in powder samples in Belgium.

Symptoms of atropine poisoning include: amnesia, disorientation, visual hallucinations, ataxia, psychosis, coma, tachycardia, mydriasis, restlessness, urinary retention, disturbed speech and swallowing [2]. Atropine poisoning can be fatal due to respiratory depression and cardiac arrhythmia.

The purpose of this communication is to:

  • inform you of these recent detections of atropine in cocaine and ketamine samples in the Netherlands;
  • highlight that suspected poisonings and detections in urine samples have also been reported;
  • highlight that there is a potential for severe toxicity with atropine;
  • request that you report any recent detections of atropine as soon as possible to the Belgian Early Warning System drugs using
Created: 17/01/2018 16:08
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) just released the report on the formal risk assessment for furanylfentanyl.

This publication presents the data and findings of the risk assessment on N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)piperidin-4-yl]furan-2-carboxamide (furanylfentanyl), 
carried out by the extended Scientific Committee of the EMCDDA on 23 May 2017. 

On the basis of the Risk Assessment Report — and on the initiative of the European Commission — on 15 November 2017, 
the Council decided that furanylfentanyl should be subject to control measures across the Member States.

The entire risk assessment report can be downloaded in pdf format​.
Created: 06/12/2017 22:55
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has issued the following notice of intent:
Created: 22/11/2017 13:32

The EMCDDA ​has released its report on high-risk drug use and new psychoactive substances (NPS).

This report provides a first look at the emergence of more problematic forms of use of new psychoactive substances among a range of demographic groups, 
including opioid and amphetamine injectors, prisoners, the homeless and men who have sex with men. 
It explores, in particular, the use of synthetic cathinones, synthetic cannabinoids and new synthetic opioids, as well as related harms and responses.

This important publication can be downloaded in English on this location.

Created: 13/06/2017 15:03
The 2017 European Drug Report was launched at the beginning of June. 

It can be found here​.

The report provides an overview of the drug situation in Europe, for every single country.
This was accompanied for the first time by 30 Country Drug Reports, presenting summaries of national drug phenomena (EU 28, Turkey and Norway).

The country drug report for Belgium can be found on the EMCDDA website.
Created: 13/06/2017 14:57

At their recently concluded meeting in Vienna, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, an organization under the United Nationshas decided to place ten Novel Psychoactive Substances under international control.

More information can be found here. The substances are:  

·         U-47700 - Schedule I
       ·         Butyrfentanyl- Schedule I
       ·         4-Methylethcathinone (4-MEC) - Schedule II
       ·         Ethylone - Schedule II
       ·         Pentedrone (α-Methylaminovalerophenone) - Schedule II
       ·         Ethylphenidate (EPH) - Schedule II
       ·         Methiopropamine (MPA) - Schedule II
       ·         MDMB-CHMICA - Schedule II
       ·         5F-APINACA (5F-AKB-48) - Schedule II
       ·         XLR-11 - Schedule II
Created: 17/03/2017 11:39
Created: 06/03/2017 16:24

March 1, 2017 - A New Psychoactive Substances Act entered into force in Germany on 26 November 2016, controlling specific new psychoactive substances (NPS).

Under the new act, NPS are defined as any substance or preparation belonging to the specified generic (group) definitions for synthetic cannabinoids and compounds derived from 2-phenylethylamine.

The new act prohibits producing, trading, importing, offering and possessing NPS and empowers police and customs services to confiscate substances using their general powers to protect life and health.

The text can be found here.

Created: 01/03/2017 13:14

March 1, 2017 - The EU reacted to serious concerns over the use of the synthetic cannabinoid MDMB-CHMICA by deciding to subject it to ‘control measures’ on February 27th, 2017.

The substance in question has been raising health concerns in Europe after harmful effects related to its use were reported by the Member States through the EU Early Warning System, coordinated by the EMCDDA.

Consumption of DMB-CHMICA resulted in dozens of deaths and intoxications throughout Europe during the summer of 2015.

During the risk assessment, which was held in July 2016, the EMCDDA scientific committee concluded that the potency of MDMB-CHMICA and the highly variable amounts of the compound encountered in herbal products constitute a  serious risk of acute toxicity.

The risk assessment full text can be found on the website of the EU Council.

Created: 01/03/2017 12:10
The Eu​​​ropean Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)​ has released its EMCDDA-Europol Joint Report on the new psychoactive substance acroylfentanyl. Acroylfentanyl is a potent NPS opioid which has surfaced in Europe in 2016. The document can be downloaded here.
Created: 23/02/2017 13:36

20 April 2016 - In 2012, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs expressed for the first time, its concern over the rapid emergence of new psychoactive substances (a.k.a. NPS). Four years on, more than 640 individual substances have been reported to the UNODC Early Warning Advisory, and over 100 countries and territories from all regions of the world have reported one or more NPS. On average, one of these substances enters the market every week.

During the ​UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS) in April 2016 it was highlighted how NPS mimic the effects of common controlled substances such as methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, LSD, and others"NPS are not controlled under the international drug conventions and with this they carry an aura of legality. Some users subsequently perceive them as safe."

Yet while NPS are meant to mimic illicit substances, they also bear numerous undesired effects. Their use has ultimately led to increased abuse, dependence, hospitalization, and sometimes fatalities. Of great concern is that users often do not know what they are taking, or how much of a substance they are being exposed to.

The dynamic nature of the problem has also meant that research and monitoring activities are critical in improving understanding of the phenomenon.

More information on this particular topic can be found on the UNODC website. Information regarding the monitoring of this phenomenon is available on the United Nations EWS page.

Created: 29/04/2016 14:33

UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, urged the international community to seize the opportunity provided by the UN General Assembly special session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem to address shared challenges. He also pledged UNODC's support for putting the session's recommendations into practice.

 "We must take advantage of the momentum provided by UNGASS to strengthen cooperation and advance comprehensive, balanced, integrated rights-based approaches that help to protect and promote the health, safety and security of people everywhere," said Mr. Fedotov.

 The landmark special session, only the third such meeting held by the UN General Assembly on global drug policy, concluded on Thursday.

 More information is available from the UNODC website.

Created: 29/04/2016 13:00
Every year, increasing numbers (and amounts) of new psychoactive substances (NPS) are detected and reported to the EMCDDA, by the BEWSD.
Since these substances are legal in the majority of cases, the Belgian drug legislation needed to be adapted.

To tackle this phenomenon, a final update to the Belgian drug legislation was published on November 25th, 2015.

Specifically, about 100 new substances have been added to the list of controlled substances, and are currently controlled. 
As a result, these substances are now illegal to possess and sell without a narcotics license in Belgium.
This latest update can be found in the "Legislation" section of the BEWSD website; it can also be downloaded here.
Created: 15/12/2015 15:51
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has released number 92 of its newletter, Drugnet Europe.

The most important topics in this issue include:

Lisbon Addictions 2015 - conference round-up
* Discussion: 20 years of monitoring by EMCDDA
Minimum quality standards for drug demand reduction interventions in the EU
* Memoranding of Understanding with Georgia Also included are new posters discussing the several key indicators, the 2015 REITOX week, Europe's response to health concerns
posed by new psychoactive substances, and a calendar update.

The newsletter can be found on the EMCDDA website, or it can be download directly as a pdf here.
Created: 09/11/2015 23:40

EMCDDA, Lisbon, March 2015

The EMCDDA has published a new up-to-date report on the current evolutions in the new psychoactive subsgtances field.

This short report provides an update on new psychoactive substances (NPS) in Europe for 2014. It highlights recent developments, including the growth of the market over the past few years, as illustrated by seizures by law enforcement and other indicators, as well as the growing number of serious harms that are being reported as a result.

The report can be downloaded here.

For information purposes, an accompanying poster/wall chart is available. It can be found here.

Created: 14/05/2015 14:12

New EMCDDA trendspotter study explores online supply of drugs

Lisbon, 30.01.2015 (Fact sheet 3/2015)


The speed with which the Internet is transforming drug markets poses a major challenge to law enforcement, public health, research and monitoring agencies.

This is according to The Internet and drug markets, the latest ‘trendspotter’ study from the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) released today. The study aims to raise understanding of the current online supply of drugs and to map the range of Internet markets in existence.

The study kicked off with data collection and a literature review in September 2014 and culminated in an expert meeting in Lisbon from 30–31 October.
Insights were provided from the fields of IT, research, monitoring and law enforcement and from the perspectives of Internet and drug users.
A special focus was placed on:
* The online sale of new psychoactive substances (NPS) and medicinal products for illicit use;
* The role of social media and apps;
* Drug sales on the ‘deep web’ (inaccessible via standard web browsers).
The study report can be found online.
Created: 11/03/2015 07:57

Wound botulism in people who inject heroin in Norway and the United Kingdom

 ECDC/EMCDDA, Lisbon, February 2015

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the EMCDDA released a joint risk assessment in February 2015,

on wound botulism among people who inject heroin in Norway and the United Kingdom.


At the time of publication, a total of 23 cases of wound botulism had been reported in the two countries.

The source of infection was thought to be a batch of contaminated heroin.

The pdf-version can be found here. 

Created: 20/02/2015 13:10

Cayman Chemicals and SWGDRUG have released new updates of their spectral GC/MS libraries.

These updates contain new spectra, mostly focusing on new psychoactive substances, such as synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones.

The libraries can be found, free of charge, here, and are available in Agilent Chemstation and NIST formats.

Created: 09/10/2014 16:47

The EMCDDA has released its latest report regarding computer-assisted and online data collection in general population surveys.

The aim of the present report is to collect information from a literature review on computer-assisted interviewing and online data collection in general population surveys.

It evaluates the pros and cons of both approaches in terms of research processes and outcomes. It provides also an overview of representative studies on drug use conducted in the EMCDDA countries that used one of these methods.

The report can be found online.

Created: 08/10/2014 10:48

25I-NBOMe is the most reported substance in 2014: By September 2014, 25I-NBOMe was the most frequently reported NPS to the UNODC Early Warning Advisory (EWA) (43% of reported cases), followed by 25C-NBOMe and methylone. These are followed by the synthetic cannabinoid AKB48 (APINACA) and MAM-2201, both reported by 35% of all countries and territories.

Synthetic cannabinoids are the fastest growing NPS group in 2014: Up to September 2014 a total number of 388 new psychoactive substances (NPS) were reported to the UNODC EWA. The majority of recently emerging substances in 2014 were reported as synthetic cannabinoids.

98 countries reporting to UNODC Early Warning Advisory by August 2014: 96 Member States and Territories reported the emergence of NPS by December 2013; this number increased to 98 countries by August 2014.

More information can be found at the respective weblinks.

Created: 29/09/2014 15:00

EDR2014 EPmagazine advert_final.png
The EMCDDA has presented its annual overview of the European drug situation on 27 May 2014.
A multilingual, multimedia information package focusing on today’s rapidly shifting drug phenomenon is available on the EMCDDA website.

This year's ediation focusses on new trends in the European drug scene.

There is also a special focus on the never-ending appearance of novel psychoactive substances in the European Union.

More information and full details can be found here.

Created: 27/05/2014 15:03

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has released an updated laboratory manual for use by
the national drug analysis laboratories throughout the European Union.

This document, which can be found on the UNODC website, provides very valuable information concerning the challenges arising when analysing the latest synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists. It also provides a thorough review of the different classes of synthetic cannabinoids found on the market today.

Especially in forensic laboratory work this manual can be of use.


The manual can be downloaded from the BEWSD website.

Created: 27/03/2014 13:25

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has released its latest SMART report. The global SMART reports provide regular updates regarding the drug phenomenon around the world.

The special segment addresses the changing nature of the content of drugs sold as “ecstasy”. It provides a description and an outline of the history of MDMA, its precursors and its mechanism of action and the changing content of “ecstasy”. Finally, regional differences in “ecstasy” composition are presented. 

MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) was the original chemical found in pills sold as ecstasy and the two names have been used interchangeably. However, more and more substances under international control as well as new psychoactive substances (NPS) have been identified as components of pills sold as “ecstasy”. Chemical analyses of “ecstasy” pills around the world have revealed that their composition is rather diverse, varying from products with MDMA as the sole psychoactive substance, through mixtures of MDMA with other psychoactive substances or other psychoactive substances alone.

The Update also covers the latest developments in the illicit manufacture of ecstasy in Europe and the increasing use of ecstasy in powdered or crystal form, which is reported to be rapidly gaining prominence.

The document can be downloaded here. More information can be found on the UNODC website.

Created: 19/03/2014 15:38

Today, the BMCDDA can announce that the Belgian annual report on drugs 2013: new trends and developments is available for your consultation. 
It took some time to disperse the full report because of embargoes on certain research results that were included in the report.
Please feel free to refer to this report and to distribute the full report to your network.
Created: 05/02/2014 13:37
The most recent risk assessment regarding new psychoactive substances, performed by the EMCDDA and the EU member states, are available for the public. They can be found online on the EMCDDA website.
The risk assessments can be found on this site as well, for 4-methylamphetamine and for 5-IT. Older risk assessments are available here.
Created: 04/02/2014 16:57
Europe has responded to rising concern over the use of four new drugs by formally requesting a scientific investigation into the health and social risks of the substances. The decision was communicated to the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) by the Council of the EU today, in line with a legal procedure designed to respond to potentially harmful new psychoactive drugs in the EU.
The Council requests the EMCDDA Scientific Committee to conduct formal risk assessments of the four new substances — 25I-NBOMe, AH-7921, MDPV and methoxetamine — after harmful effects related to the drugs were reported by the Member States and picked up by the EU Early-warning system.
The substances will be scrutinised by the Committee in Lisbon in April, with the participation of additional experts from the EU Member States, European Commission, Europol and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). More information can be found on the EMCDDA website. 
Created: 04/02/2014 16:56
A new global drug survey was launched. Annualy, this survey maps the consumption of illicit drugs.
In this edition of the survey, new psychoactive substances were included as well.
More information on how to participate, and the survey itself, can be found on the survey website. 
Created: 04/02/2014 16:55
As of 28 October 2013, six cases of wound botulism have been reported in Norway among people who had injected heroin (most reported intramuscular injection of heroin). They all reside in the Oslo area or in neighbouring municipalities.


The source of infection is thought to be a batch of contaminated heroin. The geographical distribution of the potentially contaminated heroin is unknown at this time, as is the distribution stage at which the heroin may have been contaminated.


So far, no cases of botulism in heroin users in Belgium have been reported.

Also, there are no indications that this contaminated batch of heroin is present on the Belgian market.


Guidance on drug treatment and prevention and control of infections among people who inject drugs has recently been issued by ECDC and the EMCDDA. The two agencies will continue to monitor the evolution of this situation in terms of the epidemiological information available. More information is available on the ECDC website and in this rapid risk assessment. Prevention and control guidelines are available in this document.

Created: 06/11/2013 15:33

September 17, 2013; Brussels - The European Commission today proposed to strengthen the European Union’s ability to respond to ‘legal highs’ – new psychoactive substances used as alternatives to illicit drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy. Under the rules proposed by the Commission today, harmful psychoactive substances will be withdrawn quickly from the market, without jeopardising their various legitimate industrial and commercial uses. The proposals follow warnings from the EU's Drugs Agency (the EMCDDA) and Europol about the scale of the problem and a 2011 report which found that the EU’s current mechanism for tackling new psychoactive substances needed bolstering (IP/11/1236).


New psychoactive substances are a growing problem. The number of new psychoactive substances detected in the EU has tripled between 2009 and 2012. So far in 2013, more than one new substance has been reported every week. It is a problem that requires a European response. The substances are increasingly available over the internet and rapidly spread between EU countries: 80% of new psychoactive substances are detected in more than one EU country.


The young generation is most at risk: a 2011 Eurobarometer on "Youth attitudes on drugs" shows that on average 5% of young people in the EU have used such substances at least once in their life, with a peak of 16% in Ireland, and close to 10% in Poland, Latvia and the UK. These substances pose major risks to public health and to society as a whole.


Consuming new psychoactive substances can be fatal. For instance, the substance 5-IT reportedly killed 24 people in four EU countries, in just five months, between April and August 2012. 4-MA, a substance which imitates amphetamine, was associated with 21 deaths in four EU countries in 2010-2012 alone.

Created: 06/11/2013 15:32

 Record-high methamphetamine seizures in Southeast Asia, UNODC says


Bangkok (Thailand), 8 November 2013 - Methamphetamine remains the top illicit drug threat in East and Southeast Asia, according to a UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report released today. Seizures of methamphetamine in both pill and crystalline forms reached record highs there in 2012, with 227 million methamphetamine pills seized - a 60 per cent increase from 2011 and a more-than seven-fold increase since 2008 - along with 11.6 metric tonnes of crystalline methamphetamine, a 12 per cent rise from 2011.

The report, Patterns and Trends of Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS) and Other Drugs - Challenges for Asia and the Pacific 2013, says that methamphetamine is now the first or second most used illicit drug in 13 of the 15 Asia Pacific countries surveyed. The use of methamphetamine increased in Cambodia, China, Japan, Lao PDR, Myanmar, the Republic of Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

More information is available in the report (pdf) or on the UNODC-werbsite.


 New psychoactive substances pose severe challenges to public health systems according to UNODC World Drug Report 2013

26 June 2013 - UNODC's Executive Director Yury Fedotov warned today at a special meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) that the use of new psychoactive substances (NPS) is growing. He said concerted action was needed to prevent the manufacture, trafficking and abuse of these substances.


In 2014, a high-level review of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action regarding the world drug problem will be conducted by the CND. It will be followed in 2016 by a UN General Assembly Special Session on the issue.


 Launch of European Drug Report 2013

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has launched it’s annual drug report on May 28, 2013.

The number, type and availability of new drugs in continued to increase in 2012. Driven by globalisation, technological advancement and the Internet, an open market for new drugs has now developed which presents significant challenges to public health, law enforcement and policymaking.

Until around 10 years ago, most new psychoactive substances appearing on the European drug scene were produced in underground laboratories or sourced from diverted medicines and sold directly on the illicit drug market.

While this still occurs, the emergence of a thriving ‘legal highs’ business on the Internet and in specialised shops in urban areas has marked a fundamental shift in the drug market. Today, these substances, often produced in China and India, are now imported into Europe in bulk where they are processed, packaged and sold as 'legal highs'.

They may also end up on the street where they are sold as substitutes for amphetamine, ecstasy, heroin or cocaine.

The full report is available in English, Dutch and French. The EDR2013 is also available as an app for Android smartphones/tablets or Apple iPhone/iPad products.


 Belgian government responds to the increase in new psychoactive substances



2012 was recordjaar voor nieuwe psychoactieve stoffen in België: 71 stoffen in 2012 t.o.v. 43 in 2011. Regering neemt verregaande maatregelen.

Nieuwe psychoactieve stoffen (NPS), vroeger ook wel legal highs, designer drugs of smart drugs genoemd, zijn nieuwe synthetische drugs. Dit betekent dat zij nagenoeg dezelfde basisstructuur hebben als de zogenaamd klassieke illegale drugs, maar licht verschillen in de scheikundige structuur. Omdat hun moleculaire samenstelling verschilt, worden zij niet als illegaal beschouwd en kunnen zij vrij in omloop blijven. Zij vormen een legaal alternatief voor onder meer MDMA (‘ecstacy’) en cannabis en worden specifiek ontworpen om de wetgeving te omzeilen.

Ze worden gekenmerkt door aantrekkelijke verpakkingen, waarbij de nadruk ligt op het legaal karakter, hoewel deze schijnbaar onschuldige producten (levens)gevaarlijk kunnen zijn. “Gezien deze stoffen meestal niet klinisch getest werden, stelt de gebruiker zich bloot aan schadelijke neveneffecten en speelt hij zelf letterlijk “proefkonijn” zegt dr. Peter Blanckaert, Coördinator van het BEWSD bij het Wetenschappelijk Instituut Volksgezondheid (WIV-ISP).

Toename van het aantal nieuwe psychoactieve substanties in België
Deze stoffen worden in België opgevolgd door het BEWSD (Belgian Early Warning System on Drugs). “Voor België is in de afgelopen 7 jaar een relatief hoog aantal nieuwe substanties gerapporteerd” zegt dr. Peter Blanckaert, Coördinator van het BEWSD bij het Wetenschappelijk Instituut Volksgezondheid (WIV-ISP). “Zo werden er in 2012 maar liefst 71 van deze nieuwe stoffen ontdekt in België, een grote stijging ten opzichte van 2011 (43 stoffen)”.
De toename kan worden toegeschreven aan de faciliteiten en de knowhow die aanwezig waren in België en die verder zijn ontwikkeld met de synthetische productie van klassieke amfetamines. “België is, samen met Nederland, een van de voornaamste productielanden van amfetamine en MDMA in Europa” legt dr. Blanckaert uit.
De Belgische douane heeft vastgesteld dat België dient als import- en exportland van de grondstoffen van deze nieuwe substanties, meer bepaald afkomstig van onder meer China en Indië.

Reactie van Belgische overheid
Met de regelmaat van de klok verschijnen in ons land nieuwe psychoactieve stoffen op de markt. In tegenstelling tot de klassieke drugs (zoals cocaïne en heroïne), zijn deze nieuwe stoffen legaal, maar bootsen ze wel de werking van de klassieke drugs na. Gezien deze stoffen meestal niet klinisch getest werden, stelt de gebruiker hiervan zich bloot aan schadelijke neveneffecten.

Op vrijdag 26 april 2013 heeft de minister van Volksgezondheid een nieuw wetsvoorstel aangekondigd dat het probleem van de nieuwe psychoactieve stoffen ten gronde moet aanpakken.
De belangrijkste elementen in dit voorstel zijn:

  • Het introduceren van een zogenaamde ‘generieke wetgeving’. In de huidige wetgeving volstaat het wijzigen van één molecule aan de basisstructuur om te ontsnappen aan de illegaliteit. De generieke wetgeving vertrekt daarentegen vanuit het verbieden van de scheikundige basisstructuur (en alle mogelijke varianten). Daardoor zullen alle nieuwe psychoactieve varianten automatisch illegaal zijn.
  • Het verplicht rapporteren van nieuw ontdekte psychoactieve stoffen aan het Belgian Early Warning System on Drugs (BEWSD) door alle analytische laboratoria in België.

Slides persconferentie (powerpoint)

Meer informatie? 
dr. Peter Blanckaert
(NL & FR)
Coördinator Belgian Early Warning System on Drugs (BEWSD)
Dienst ‘Enquêtes, Levensstijl en Chronische Ziekten’ WIV-ISP

Het BEWSD maakt deel uit van het Belgisch Monitoring Centrum voor Drugs en Drugverslaving (BMCDDA) van de dienst ‘Enquêtes, Leefstijl en Chronische Ziekten’. Deze dienst is onderdeel van de operationele directie ‘Volksgezondheid en surveillance’ van het Wetenschappelijk Instituut Volksgezondheid (WIV-ISP). Zo ondersteunt het WIV-ISP de Algemene Cel Drugsbeleid en de Interministeriële Conferentie Drugs.


Les autorités belges réagissent à la multiplication des nouvelles substances psychoactives



L’année 2012 est une année record pour les nouvelles substances psychoactives en Belgique, avec 71 substances détectées contre 43 en 2011. Le gouvernement adopte des mesures draconiennes : une révision de la législation relative aux drogues.
Nouvelles substances psychoactives : définition
Les nouvelles substances psychoactives (NSP), auparavant également appelées legal highs, designer drugs ou encore smart drugs, sont de nouvelles drogues synthétiques. Cela signifie qu’elles ont pratiquement la même structure de base que les drogues illégales dites classiques, mais présentent une structure chimique légèrement différente. Cette différence de composition moléculaire leur permet de ne pas être considérées comme illégales et donc de circuler librement. Elles constituent une alternative légale à certaines drogues telles que la MDMA (« ecstasy ») et le cannabis et sont spécifiquement conçues dans le but de contourner la loi.

Ces produits sont typiquement proposés dans des emballages attrayants mettant l’accent sur leur caractère légal. Mais, derrière leur apparence innocente, se cache un danger réel pour la vie des consommateurs. « Vu que ces substances ne sont en général soumises à aucun test clinique, le consommateur s’expose à des effets secondaires néfastes et joue lui-même le rôle de cobaye », explique le Dr Peter Blanckaert, coordinateur BEWSD de l’Institut Scientifique de Santé Publique.

Augmentation du nombre de nouvelles substances psychoactives en Belgique
En Belgique, le Système d’Alerte Précoce Drogues (BEWSD) assure un suivi de ces substances. « En Belgique, un nombre relativement élevé de nouvelles substances a été signalé au cours des sept dernières années », indique le Dr Peter Blanckaert, coordinateur BEWSD au sein de l’Institut Scientifique de Santé Publique (WIV-ISP). « En 2012, 71 nouvelles substances ont été détectées en Belgique, une forte hausse par rapport à 2011 (43 substances). »

Cette multiplication peut s’expliquer par les infrastructures et le savoir-faire dont dispose la Belgique, qui se développent avec la production synthétique d’amphétamines classiques.
« La Belgique est, avec les Pays-Bas, le principal producteur d’amphétamines et de MDMA en Europe », souligne le Dr Blanckaert.
Les autorités douanières belges ont constaté que notre pays constituait une plateforme d’importation et d’exportation pour les matières premières entrant dans la composition de ces nouvelles substances, qui proviennent notamment de Chine et d’Inde.

Réaction des autorités belges
De nouvelles substances psychoactives apparaissent régulièrement sur le marché belge. Contrairement aux drogues classiques (telles que la cocaïne et l’héroïne), ces substances sont légales, mais elles reproduisent les effets des drogues traditionnelles. Vu qu’elles ne sont généralement soumises à aucun test clinique, elles exposent le consommateur à des effets secondaires néfastes.

Ce vendredi 26 avril 2013, la ministre de la Santé publique a annoncé une nouvelle proposition de loi qui devrait apporter une solution de fond au problème des nouvelles substances psychoactives. La proposition prévoit principalement les éléments suivants :
* la mise en place d’une législation dite générique. Dans le cadre de la législation actuelle, il suffit de modifier une seule molécule dans la structure de base pour échapper à l’illégalité. La législation générique repose quant à elle sur l’interdiction de la structure chimique de base (et de toutes ses variantes possibles). Toutes les nouvelles variantes psychoactives seront dès lors automatiquement considérées comme illégales.
* l’obligation pour tous les laboratoires d’analyse belges de signaler la découverte de toute nouvelle substance psychoactive au BEWSD.
Pour plus d’infos :


Dr Peter Blanckaert (NL & FR)
Coordinateur Belgian Early Warning System on Drugs (BEWSD)
Service ‘Enquêtes, mode de vie et maladies chroniques’ WIV-ISP

Le BEWSD fait partie de l’Observatoire belge des drogues et des toxicomanies (BMCDDA) du service « Enquêtes, mode de vie et maladies chroniques », lui-même intégré à la direction opérationnelle « Santé publique et surveillance » de l’Institut Publique de Santé Publique (WIV-ISP). Le WIV-ISP apporte par ce biais son soutien à la Cellule Générale de Politique en matière de Drogues et à la Conférence Interministérielle Drogues.








 Fifteen new psychoactive substances under control in Belgium


On April 15th, 2013, a new royal decree regarding new psychoactive substances was published. This royal decree adds 15 new psychoactive substances to the list of controlled substances in Belgium. 

Several synthetic cannabinoids (a.o. 5F-UR-144), 4-methylamphetamine and 5-IT are included. The legislative text can be found here.


 Challenge of new psychoactive substances highlighted in new UNODC Global SMART Update


No longer a phenomenon of a few countries or regions, new psychoactive substances (NPS) are being sold across the world, finds a new report published by the UNODC Global Synthetics Monitoring: Analyses, Reporting and Trends (SMART) Programme.

For the first time, there is a global analysis of where these substances have appeared, what is known about them and where they are used. The report, which was prepared pursuant to Commission on Narcotic Drugs resolution 55/1 adopted in March 2012, is based on information submitted through a questionnaire that was circulated to Governments and a network of drug analysis laboratories around the world in July 2012.

The document can be downloaded here.


 New drug 4-MA to be placed under control across the EU


Europe has responded today to concerns over the use of the stimulant drug 4-methylamphetamine (4-MA) by subjecting it to ‘control measures and criminal penalties’ throughout the Union. The Decision of the Council of the EU was adopted in the final stage of the three-step legal procedure designed to respond to potentially threatening new psychoactive drugs entering the market.

More information can be found online.



 SPICE Project Consortium - Synthetic Cannabinoid brochure


The "SPICE Project Consortium" has released a new white paper, describing the phenomenon of the synthetic cannabinoids in detail.
This brochure is a result of the EU Project on SPICE and synthetic cannabinoids.

In this brochure we provide information for professionals on synthetic cannabinoids and give advice on prevention measures. More information on 'Spice' products and synthetic cannabinoids are available on the website:

Please see the attached pdf-file ("Brochure on Synthetic Cannabinoids").


 UNODC World Drug Report 2012 published


The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has publicly released their World Drug Report for 2012.

This year's edition begins with an overview of recent trends and the current situation in terms of production, trafficking and consumption and the consequences of illicit drug use in terms of treatment, drug-related diseases and drug-related deaths. The second chapter presents a long-term perspective: it looks at the main characteristics of the contemporary drug problem, the ways it has changed over the last few decades, the driving factors that shaped this evolution, and the directions it is likely to take in the future.

The UNODC World Drug Report 2012 can be downloaded in English or French.


 2012 Annual report on the state of the drugs problem in Europe


EMCDDA, Lisbon, November 2012

The report on the state of the drugs problem in Europe presents the EMCDDA's yearly overview of the drug phenomenon. This is an essential reference book for policymakers, specialists and practitioners in the drugs field or indeed anyone seeking the latest findings on drugs in Europe. Published every autumn, the report contains non-confidential data supported by an extensive range of figures.

This report is available in dutch, french and english.




 New psychoactive substances in Belgium: 2005-2011


The Belgian Early Warning System on Drugs (BEWSD) and the Belgian Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (BMCDDA) have released a report describing the appearance of new psychoactive substances in Belgium for the time period 2005-2011.

The different substances are described. Also, an analysis is made of the differences in reporting times for new psychoactive substances in Belgium and the other member states of the European Union.


This report was created in light of the activities of the working group "Legal Highs".

Versions are available in dutch, french and english.


 Tracking designer drugs, legal highs and bath salts at the international level


1 November 2012

'Designer drugs', 'legal highs' or 'bath salts' -  whatever they are labelled as, psychoactive substances in all regions of the world have become a major concern, particularly given their considerable public health and even potentially fatal effects.

UNODC provides an international overview, which can be found online.



 Recommended methods for the Identification and Analysis of Barbiturates and Benzodiazepines under International Control


This manual has been designed to provide practical guidance to national authorities and drug analysts by describing recommended methods for use in forensic laboratories for the identification and analysis of barbiturates and benzodiazepines under international control. It combines and updates the two existing manuals on recommended methods for testing barbiturate derivatives and benzodiazepine derivatives.

Please download the report here.






 Report reviews measures for creating safer nightlife environment for young people


How to prevent and reduce the health and social risks associated with drug and alcohol use in recreational settings is examined today in a new paper from the EMCDDA. The EU is actively addressing the use of these substances on the nightlife scene, as illustrated by the 2009–12 EU drugs action plan and the adoption of specific Council conclusions in 2010. Reflecting these conclusions, the paper — Responding to drug use and related problems in recreational settings — reviews some of the approaches used today to minimise the hazards for young people in this milieu.


 EMCDDA Drugnet Europe 79


Drugnet Europe, the EMCDDA's quarterly newsletter, provides regular information on the agency's activities to a broad readership.


In this issue: market share of herbal cannabis rising; ESPAD survey results; anthrax outbreak among heroin users in Germany; responses to HIV outbreak among IDUs in Greece; new drugs; Kazakhstan study visit; 'Reitox week'; Scientific Director awarded for excellence in international leadership. The issue can be downloaded here.


 EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin 2012


The Statistical bulletin is published yearly by the EMCDDA and provides access to the most recent statistical data relating to the drugs situation in Europe. Over 400 tables and 100 graphs presenting the latest data on the European drug phenomenon are released today in the 2012 Statistical Bulletin.  Monitoring and analysing the nature and scale of the Europe’s drug problems is a central part of the agency's work. The Statistical Bulletin is one of the EMCDDA’s key outputs, providing drug-related statistics, key indicator data and trends. It can be found here.


 New psychoactive substances in Europe


This week's episode of the Euronews programme "Right-on" was produced in partnership with DG Justice and focuses on the occurence of new psychoactive substances in Europe.

They are known by different names in different countries: psychoactive substances, legal highs, herbal highs, stimulants or ethno-botanicals. They are part of a new drugs phenomenon that is on the rise in Europe – legal substances that imitate the effects of illicit drugs. But they are also the focus of growing debate. 


More information can be found at


 Cannabis production and markets in Europe


This study brings together available evidence to provide a comprehensive analysis of cannabis production and markets across the EU. It combines information from EMCDDA routine reporting — data on patterns of prevalence and use, seizures, police reports, drug-law offences, cannabis potency and retail market prices — with literature on cannabis markets to create an in-depth analysis of the issue in a European context.

Please download the report here.





 EMCDDA Drugnet Europe 78


Drugnet Europe, the EMCDDA's quarterly newsletter, provides regular information on the agency's activities to a broad readership.

In this issue: new study on heroin-assisted treatment; second European conference on drug supply indicators; new TDI guidelines; new drugs detected at the rate of around one per week; EMCDDA launches IPA 4; and new EMCDDA products and services.


 New drugs detected in the EU at the rate of around one per week


New drugs were detected in the European Union last year at the rate of around one per week, according to the EMCDDA–Europol 2011 annual report on new psychoactive substances released today.

A total of 49 new psychoactive substances were officially notified for the first time in 2011 via the EU early-warning system (EWS). This represents the largest number of substances ever reported in a single year, up from 41 substances reported in 2010 and 24 in 2009.


 Over 40 new psychoactive substances reported in Europe (2010)


"New psychoactive substances are becoming widely available at an ‘unprecedented pace’. This is according to the EMCDDA–Europol 2010 report on new drugs entering the European market, released on 11 May at the Annual meeting of the EMCDDA–Reitox early-warning system (EWS) network (see First international forum on new drugs). In 2010, a record number of new drugs were officially reported to the EMCDDA and Europol via the EU early-warning system (EWS) on new psychoactive substances.

According to the report, 41 new psychoactive substances were officially notified for the first time to the two agencies in 2010. This represents the largest number of substances ever reported in a single year, considerably up on 2009 (24 substances) and 2008 (13 substances)"(Source: Drugnet Europe News from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction — April–June 2011).


 First international forum on new drugs


Leading European and international experts in the field of new psychoactive substances met in Lisbon from 11–12 May for the First international multidisciplinary forum on new drugs. The aim of the forum was to take stock of the current state of the art in this area and identify common anchor points to inform future actions. The programme focused on early-warning systems, risk assessments and controls, as well as options for prevention and treatment. In discussions, the experts traced how this phenomenon has developed over the last 10 years and compared, through case studies, differing national experiences.

The forum was organised in conjunction with the 11th Annual meeting of the EMCDDA–Reitox early-warning system (EWS) network. The EWS provides EU Member States with an information exchange mechanism for reporting on the emergence of new psychoactive substances. It is a key element in the European fast-track system for assessing and responding to new drugs." (Source: Drugnet Europe News from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction — April–June 2011).


 Risk assessment report of a new psychoactive substance: 4-methylmethcathinone (mephedrone)


This publication presents the summary findings and the conclusions of the risk assessment on mephedrone, carried out by the EMCDDA’s extended Scientific Committee, with participation of additional experts from the European Commission, Europol and the EMA.

The risk assessment report, which was submitted to the European Commission and the Council of the European Union 26 May 2010, examines the health and social risks of the drug, as well as information on international trafficking and the involvement of organised crime. Furthermore, the report considers the potential implications for placing the drug under control in the EU.

On the basis of this report, on 2 December 2010, the Council decided that mephedrone is to be subject to control measures (Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction — Publications –May 2011).





Always stay up-to-date:

Subscribe to the BEWSD Alerts RSS feed

 Our regional EWS partners

 Request login: New Psychoactive Substance Database

 Contact the BEWSD team



Fax: +32 (0)2 642 54 10


 EWS Calendar

Access denied. You do not have permission to perform this action or access this resource.

 Belgian legislation