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  • 1.
    Soussan, Christophe
    et al.
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies (from 2013).
    Andersson, Martin
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies (from 2013).
    Kjellgren, Anette
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Psychology. Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies (from 2013). Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Centre for Public Safety (from 2013).
    The diverse reasons for using Novel Psychoactive Substances - A qualitative study of the users' own perspectives2018In: International journal on drug policy, ISSN 0955-3959, E-ISSN 1873-4758, Vol. 52, p. 71-78Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background

    The increasing number of legally ambiguous and precarious Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) constitutes a challenge for policy makers and public health. Scientific and more in-depth knowledge about the motivations for using NPS is scarce and often consist of predetermined, non-systematic, or poorly described reasons deduced from top-down approaches. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to explore and characterize the users’ self-reported reasons for NPS use inductively and more comprehensively.

    Methods

    The self-reported reasons of a self-selected sample of 613 international NPS users were collected via an online survey promoted at the international drug discussion forum bluelight.org and later analyzed qualitatively using inductive thematic analysis.

    Results

    The analysis showed that the participants used NPS because these compounds reportedly: 1) enabled safer and more convenient drug use, 2) satisfied a curiosity and interest about the effects, 3) facilitated a novel and exciting adventure, 4) promoted self-exploration and personal growth, 5) functioned as coping agents, 6) enhanced abilities and performance, 7) fostered social bonding and belonging, and 8) acted as a means for recreation and pleasure. The consumption of NPS was also driven by 9) problematic and unintentional use.

    Conclusion

    The present study contributed to a more comprehensive understanding of the users’ own and self-reported reasons for using NPS, which needs to be acknowledged not only in order to minimize drug related harm and drug user alienation but also to improve prevention efforts and reduce the potentially counter-intuitive effects of strictly prohibitive policies.

  • 2.
    Soussan, Christophe
    et al.
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies (from 2013).
    Kjellgren, Anette
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies (from 2013).
    The users of Novel Psychoactive Substances: Online survey about their characteristics, attitudes and motivations2016In: International journal on drug policy, ISSN 0955-3959, E-ISSN 1873-4758, Vol. 32, p. 77-84Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: The increasing number of Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) constitutes a challenge for public health agencies and researchers worldwide. Scientific studies about NPS and their users are limited and there is a need to explore the general motivations for NPS use but also to examine if and how the motivations differ between substances from separate effect classes. The aim of the present study was to investigate the characteristics, including attitudes and motivations, of a self-selected sample of international NPS users.

    Methods: An online survey containing questions about drug use history, attitudes, motivations for use, and WHO-5 Wellbeing Index was promoted at the drug discussion forum bluelight.org. The data was analysed using SPSS. Results: The sample consisted of 619 international NPS users with overall good emotional well-being despite extensive experience of both traditional and novel drugs. The main incentive for use of NPS in general was pleasure and enjoyment. However, going beyond the general approach to NPS revealed significant variations between drug groups. For example, the use of hallucinogens was substantially motivated by self-exploration and spiritual attainment and showed very low levels of addiction potential while the use of opioids and especially GABA activating substances was mainly motivated by coping and showed much higher levels of addiction potential. Synthetic cannabinoids were the least appreciated and least likely to be used again, and were mainly motivated by circumstances such as availability and legality.

    Conclusion: Understanding the different motivations for NPS use in terms of drug groups could enable more effective prevention and consequently a reduction in harm. 

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