NPS (research chemicals)

What are NPS?

New drugs are regularly introduced on the market that are ‘comparable’ in effect to traditional ‘illegal’ drugs, but which are not (yet) subject to drug legislation, and are often produced to circumvent the law. These substances are known under the collective term New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) and are also known as designer drugs, research chemicals (RCs) or legal highs.

Because they are new substances, often little or no research has been done. Little or nothing is therefore known about the (psychoactive) effects of the drug, the long- and short-term consequences, the risk of addiction, and the consequences of frequent use. It is also unknown which dose produces desired effects and which poses possible dangers.

Always be extra careful with new drugs. If you don’t want to take a risk, don’t use drugs. This applies even more to resources that fall into the category NPS: You are your own guinea pig.

Other names for NPS are legal highs, research chemicals or designer drugs.

Well known NPS


There are countless new substances. For every existing banned substance, there are several substances that have a similar effect. There are stimulating NPS such as 4-FA (4-FMP), Benzo fury and mephedrone (4-MMC). There are narcotic NPS like synthetic cannabinoids (moonlight) and variants of benzodiazepines, and there are psychedelics like 2C-B and NBOMe.

Dose and route of administration

The dosage per substance varies considerably. This can be from less than a milligram to several hundred milligrams. Especially for substances with a low dose, it is highly recommended to use an accurate scale that can weigh 1 milligram (0.001 gram).

Most new drugs are sold as white powder. They are usually swallowed or snorted, although smoking, spraying and plugging (anal administration) are also common. But nowadays capsules and pills also occur.


The duration of action varies greatly from drug to drug. Look at the information about the drug itself.


Because most of these substances or research chemicals have not yet been investigated, little or nothing is often known about the potential risks in the short term, let alone in the long term. Always be careful with new (unknown) drugs.

You really are your own guinea pig!


Combining different types of drugs can be risky and unpredictable. When you combine drugs you can have a higher risk of health problems. In the following paragraphs you can read about the effects and the risks of a number of combinations that occur frequently and also a about few that are extra hazardous. Also check our theme combining drugs.

The influence of combinations varies enormously per drug. So look at the information of the drug itself for information about combinations.

Unity tips

  • Know that you are your own guinea pig
  • Use an accurate scale to measure the desired dosage
  • Know that not every source is reliable (not even online). Therefore, always have your drug tested. Almost all NPS can be tested nowadays. However, it might occur that even for the testing service a substance is unknown. But that is rare. They can share the latest knowledge about the product with you at the drug checking service.
  • If you are taking a new drug, start with a much smaller dose than you need in order to notice something from it. Wait three weeks and then take a dose twice the size of the previous one until you feel the effect once. Again, three weeks later you do not take the double of the previous amount but you take a small amount more. You then slowly build up to the dose at which you should achieve a desired effect.

Do you want more information, do you have a question or do you want to talk about this or another drug? Check out the contact details in your area or send an e-mail to

Check here a movie made by Drugs Meter (Global Drug Survey) with their harm reduction tips for the first use of a new drug:


What to do if someone has a bad trip?

Always make sure that you are and remain safe yourself. If you are in danger, you cannot help the person in need.
Find a quiet place with the one who is having a hard time. Don’t try to deny that he/she is having a bad trip. Try to reassure him/her: he/she has taken drugs and the effects and thus the bad trip always wear off. Ask the person about what they are experiencing and try to talk the trip on a positive side without downplaying it. For example, by giving a positive meaning to the things he/she sees. Try to do things that make him/her feel comfortable, such as moving or singing. See if it makes sense to talk about pleasant things. Distraction can also help, for example by drawing. Let your voice sound calm and reassuring.
Make sure that the user does not end up in dangerous situations such as traffic. Call emergency services if it becomes unsafe for the user or his environment or if the bad trip is too intense to solve it yourself.

I am planning to use a new substance. What do I need to keep in mind?

Drugs can differ enormously in effect, dosage and risk. Therefore, always read carefully about the drug before taking anything. Therefore always check a website with reliable information such as unity,, Pay close attention to the dosage. For some substances it is about micrograms! So make sure you have a good reliable scale that can weigh in milligrams.

And if you decide to take a new substance, always start with a low dose, to see how you react to that substance.

Where are new psychoactive substances designed?

New psychoactive substances are substances that are produced in drug labs to mimic or improve the effects of already existing substances. Often they are not really new and have been invented decades ago by scientists such as Alexander Shulgin or David Nichols. But they are then re-synthesized for recreational purposes. It is also possible that chemists invent new molecules and then have them made by a lab. These labs are often located in Asia, especially in China.

They are often labeled as ‘research chemicals’ so that online web stores can more easily circumvent laws and sell the substances. These ‘new’ psychoactive substances are often substances for which little or no research has been done in humans and there is no experience with them in the hospital. As a result, there are more risks to using it and you are literally a guinea pig yourself. So get your drugs tested to make sure this relatively unknown substance is what you think you bought. This prevents unexpected effects and risks!

Can you have difficult moments and thoughts during a good trip?

  • Psychedelics and other trip drugs can make things hit much harder and that emotions (such as fear) come up that you were already subconsciously with. If you’re having a hard time tripping, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to have a bad trip.
  • It can often help a lot to ensure that you are comfortable, do not receive too many stimuli or change your environment and / or music for a while.
  • If difficult thoughts or emotions come up, try to let them come to you and possibly talk about them.
  • It’s all temporary and will pass faster if you don’t fight it.
  • Remember that the experience always passes. It’s a temporary experience that comes from taking drugs.

How do you prepare for a psychedelic experience?

There are many things you can do in advance to make your experience with trip drugs as pleasant as possible. The most important thing is to get a good set and setting and to know what’s in your drugs. To start with the latter:


When we talk about a drug, we are talking about the chosen substance, the dosage, the purity, cutting agents, combination use and the way of taking it.

  • Read about the drug.
  • Make sure you have decided on a dose beforehand and weighed it in advance.
  • It is often better to stick with psychedelics that you have experience with. New drugs may have different effects than you know or expect. This can make it harder to keep the experience fun.
  • Please do not combine drugs. For example, a joint can fall differently faster than if you smoke a joint sober. A fun trip can then quickly turn into a difficult experience.
  • We have drug checking services in the Netherlands, so take advantage of them! This is important to keep an eye on the drug markets. Only use something you’ve had tested or friends’ stuff that has already been tested. A responsible and fun experience 😉Check how it works, and the nearest location here!


When we talk about the set we mean all the characteristics of the person using it. So, how are you feeling? What kind of expectations do you have for the drug? Are you physically and mentally healthy? Do you take medication? Are you hydrated and have you eaten and slept enough in the past few days? Are you wearing appropriate clothing for the situation? Do you have any obligations on the day of your trip? Or the day after?

  • Make sure you feel as good mentally and that you have enough energy when you take a trip.
  • Make sure you have time off from work the day before, during and after your trip experience, so that you can start in a relaxed mood and not worry about things you have to do the next day.
  • Make sure you eat and drink well, so that your energy stays up during your trip. If a trip (e.g. LSD) takes a long time, you want to have all the food ready in advance. So bring enough food or plan to get food before you are really hungry.
  • Make sure you enough enough clothes with you to keep you warm. Think layers!
  • Ginger tea can help with nausea.


  • Make sure you have good trip buddies and a trips sitter.
  • You can discuss in advance with your trip buddies what you expect and want from the trip. Also discuss what you can do if things are not going so well with someone.
  • Provide a relaxed environment, for example by adjusting lighting and being able to lie down comfortably.
  • Turn off your phone. You don’t want to suddenly get a call from work or your mother while tripping!
  • You can make some playlists in advance to listen to while tripping.
  • It can be nice to have simple activities to do while tripping, such as drawing.
  • Are you planning to trip in a busy environment, like a party or festival? Think beforehand of places where you can go and chill out if things get too hectic.

What if I have medical complaints after the use of partydrugs?

Some complaints after using drugs can last longer, A medical explanation or even treatment may then be necessary. The Brijder has set up a national consultancy for party drugs related medical complaints. If you have medical complaints after the use of party drugs, you can call the consultancy: 088 – 358 29 40. This service is only available in the Netherlands.


How do you dose powder or capsules?

To be able to weigh a certain dose properly, you need a good scale. Have a scale that can weigh milligrams, to 3 decimal places (0.001 mg). A scale that weighs 0.01 (2 decimal places) may be just accurate enough for MDMA, but not for many other substances.

Where can you find such a scale?

On the large international online webshops you can find scales for around 20 euros that can weigh 3 figures after the decimal point. You can buy empty capsules in different sizes at pharmacies, smart shops or drugstores. Some are also suitable for vegetarians. You can write the drug and dosage on the capsule with a waterproof marker or a CD marker.

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