They Were Getting High on What? A Qualitative Evaluation of Novel Psychoactive Drug Knowledge among Practitioners

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Novel psychoactive drugs (NPDs) such as synthetic marijuana, bath salts, and salvia have increasingly entered into the American drug landscape. As law enforcement, researchers, and policy makers attempt to better understand, regulate, and detect these novel substances, other practitioners invested in drug abuse prevention and treatment may lack the knowledge to adequately handle patients and adolescents abusing NPDs. The current study employs interviews with 64 practitioners employed in positions that interact with potential recreational substance users in southeast Georgia in order to assess NPD knowledge, placing particular emphasis on those 22 respondents employed in public health, healthcare, or educational roles. Findings indicate that knowledge about NPDs among medical and educational practitioners is lacking, much of the information they ‘know’ is inaccurate, and that practitioners clearly recognize a need for NPD training. We discuss these findings relative to their broader impact on treatment and prevention programs.


Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Annual Meeting (ACJS)


Denver, CO