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Monitoring user forums | Monitoring online shops | Online survey among NPS users | Monitoring of substance content | Selecting of the most popular NPS

Overall Key results.

Read the synthesis for further details: I-Trend Project Overview: Internet tools for research in Europe on new drugs, 36 p.

Detailed results for each activity/workstream are presented below.

Please note that further information is also available in published papers or grey literature (posters and presentations). You can consult them in the dedicated 'Publications' section.

WS1. Monitoring user forums

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WS1. Key results

Forums are usually considered as a suitable source for qualitative information, although they are almost never considered as source of quantitative information. However, the quantitative monitoring of forums give a good insights on what kind of information online readers and users are looking for. The discussion the most viewed are not systematically the most updated, and so far, they testified an interest coming from people who are not directly involved in the forum but who are looking for specific information.

Read the final WS1 report for further details: Workstream 1. Monitoring user forums, Final report, 71 p.

Handbook guide
For the monitoring of the online forums a dedicated tool has been developed: results can be presented with different levels of precision, from a molecule to a complete category, according to expected effects or cross-disciplinary subjects, such as pattern of use. This software can be adapted to other countries.

Read the I-TREND platform Handbook (23 p.) for further details.
If you wish to receive further information, please contact ofdt(at)

WS2. Monitoring online shops

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WS2. Key results

Read the final WS2 report for further details: Workstream 2. Monitoring online shops, Final report, 43 p.

Handbook guide
A dedicated tool has been developed to extract and process online data. Inspired by a previous tool created by the Psychonaut and Rednet projects, this software helps researchers to have a long-term view on market evolutions. On the base of key words, it collects a sample of online shops and tracks their evolution over time. That way, it is possible to observe how much the market changes, taking in consideration the same base of NPS names. Its main technical improvement is the reduced length of time required to run the snapshot, thus enabling repeated data collection. The tool ultimately allows dynamic monitoring of NPS online supply.
Read Workstream 2. Monitoring online shops, SASF (semi-automated shop finder) official guidelines, 16 p. for further details.

For more information on this software please contact: Vendula Belackova (vendulabelackova(at) or Martin Pazitny (martin_pazitny(at)

Examples of practical application
Download an example compiling supply information on 4 NPS: Workstream 2. Monitoring online shops, Report on 25I-NBOMe, AH-7921, methoxetamine and MDVP, 8 p.
These results have notably lead to the publication in 2017 of an article in Drugs: Education, prevention and policy: "Assessing the impact of laws controlling the online availability of 25I-NBOMe, AH-7921, MDPV and MXE – outcomes of a semi-automated e-shop monitoring".

Download through the Polish report, a national example about how data obtained via the monitoring of online shops can be valorised: Workstream 2. Monitoring online shops, Polish example, 8 p.

WS3. Online survey among NPS users

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WS3. Key results

NPS users

Contexts, motives and practices

Mode of access

Information seeking


Read the final WS3 report for further details: Workstream 3. Online survey among NPS users, Final report, 44 p.

General methodology
Very few online surveys allow to compare national situations. This guideline on how the I-TREND survey has been conducted aims to define and insists on the definition of online survey, their varieties and limits.
Read Workstream 3. Online survey among NPS users, Methodological guidelines, 30 p. for further details
Readers should bear in mind that the sample of one online survey is not controlled. It can give the opportunity to highlight specific subgroups of users. But results cannot be extended to the general population.

National Reports
Results by country are also available. You can download:
Results from the Dutch online survey, 24 p.)
Results from the French online survey, 57 p.
Results from the Polish online survey, 101 p.

Please note that further information is also available in published papers or grey literature (posters and presentations). You can consult them in the dedicated 'Publications' section.

WS4. Monitoring of substance content

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WS4. Key results

Read the final WS4 report for further details: Workstream 4. Monitoring of substance content, Final report, 28 p.

An article has also been published in 2017 in the "International Journal of Drug Policy" journal: "BRUNT T. et al. Online test purchased new psychoactive substances in 5 different European countries: A snapshot study of chemical composition and price".

Methodological issues
Legal issues set real limits in terms of pursuing this monitoring beyond the I-Trend Project.
- No safe solution has been found to order and pay for online samples: researchers had to purchase samples themselves as if for personal purposes with the risk of getting blacklisted by customs and having their personal credit card hacked. Pre-paid credit cards are not accepted by shops as well as dubious identity or address.
- Above all, the European legislation is not adapted to substance transfers performed on a regular basis between laboratories. European sample transmission under Council Decision 2001/419/JHA appeared to be an empty gift in that way that it was largely unknown and unused. Both online monitoring of substances sold and enhancing cross-border laboratory cooperation by exchanging reference standards require an adapted legal framework taking into account the specific requirements of research programmes.
- To analyse new substances, it seems that the best way to obtain reference standards is to have them created by toxicological laboratories from a pure sample of the molecule (purchased via the Internet or obtained from customs seizures).

WS5. Selecting of the most popular NPS

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This activity/workstream reflects the main objective: to determine which substances are the most popular and to document them: 3-MMC, 3,4 DMMC, 4-FA, 4-HO-MET, 4-MEC, 5F-PB-22, 5-MeO-DALT, 6-APB, Alpha-PVP, AM-2201, AMT, Brephedrone, Ethcathinone, MDPBP, Methylone, MPA, MPPP, PBP, Pentedrone, UR-144. Identifying the most widely circulated and used substances took on a rather important role in the project as the first step for other activities, but also as an independent objective. Therefore results of this activity/workstream have been detailed at length in the section called "Popular NPS".

Read the final WS5 report for further details: Workstream 5. NPS Top lists and national technical folders, Final report, 27 p. and see all 29 national NPS Top lists in the “Popular NPS” section.

You can see a practical application of the methodology for selecting the most popular NPS and on how to set up a NPS Top List by downloading the French case illustration.

You can also see one example of an international technical folder on 5-MeO-DALT.