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Identification Of Novel psychoActive substances

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Chief Investigator: Professor Simon Thomas

Principle Investigator (LTHT): Dr Jonathan Thornley

Site: Leeds General Infirmary and St James's University Hospital


Start Date: February 2017

End Date: April 2019

A study looking at the characteristics and effects on patients of ‘legal highs’

The Aim

  • Identify trends in enquiries to the novel psychoactive substances (NPIS) (telephone and internet) relating to NPS and characterize and monitor the epidemiology of reported exposures
  • Identify trends in the numbers of samples positive for NPS as identified in participating NHS laboratories
  • Develop sophisticated mathematical models for analyzing NPIS and toxicology laboratory data
  • Further develop methods of screening, analysis and quantification for new/emerging NPS in biological samples (urine, oral fluid and blood)
  • Analyse samples from patients with acute severe toxicity relating to NPS to identify responsible agents
  • Link the presence of analytically confirmed NPS exposure with the toxic effects experienced
  • Measure potential miRNA biomarkers for muscle toxicity and correlate these with clinical data provided to the study such as creatine kinase, temperature etc

The Trial

  • Inclusion criteria
    • Patient with suspected novel psychoactive substance exposure
    • Patient with severe or unexpected opioid toxicity
    • Presence of severe acute toxicity
    • 16 years or older
  • Exclusion criteria
    • Absence of severe toxicity
    • Children and young people <16 yeats
    • Samples collected for investigation of suspected non-accidental injury
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