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NPS Toolkit to help local areas respond to the latest drug challenge

Public Health England has today published a new toolkit to help local areas to prevent and address the use of new psychoactive substances (NPS).

Over the past few years, there has been increasing concern from local areas about these substances, often misleadingly referred to as ‘legal highs’. The NPS toolkit has been produced to meet demand from local authorities, and was developed in consultation with substance misuse commissioners and other professionals working in the drug prevention and treatment sector.

The toolkit gives a broad overview of the challenges from NPS and provides commissioners with resources and advice to inform their work in understanding NPS use and problems in their area and planning suitable responses.

Rosanna O’Connor, Director for Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco said:

"New psychoactive substances (NPS) are rightly a cause for concern. We have responded to local authority demand by developing a toolkit to help them tackle the challenge of understanding NPS problems and to support them in planning evidence based solutions and services.

“NPS harms are impacting on emergency services. Some NPS users are developing seriously damaged health and even dependency, and an increasing number are turning to treatment for these drugs. The numbers remain small compared to heroin and crack addiction or to those seeking help with cannabis use, but services need to be geared up to meet these emerging challenges. Those seeking treatment stand a very good chance of overcoming their problems, so we would encourage anyone who needs help to seek it.

“Good local responses involves action on many levels. PHE will continue to support local areas and improve data, intelligence and information sharing systems, to ensure prevention and treatment are as effective as they can be in this ever evolving drugs market.”

Notes to Editors

1. The toolkit is available at

2. Public Health England exists to protect and improve the nation's health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. It does this through world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, advocacy, partnerships and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. Website: Twitter: @PHE_uk, Facebook:

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