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Almost 300 new illegal drugs identified in Italy since 2009

National plan presented to tackle e-commerce of 'smart drugs'

23 September, 12:44
Almost 300 new illegal drugs identified in Italy since 2009 (ANSA) - Rome, September 23 - Since 2009, 280 new intoxicating substances have been identified by the National Early Warning System (SNAP) of Italy's Department for Anti-Drug Policies (DPA), the Italian government revealed on Monday.

The announcement was made during Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin's presentation in Rome of a new national plan to battle so-called ''smart drugs'', or new psychoactive substances that are generally advertised and sold over the Internet, and then delivered by post.

Italy's new National Action Plan (NSP) involves giving seminars in 10 cities to people employed in drug-rehabilitation, emergency services and police, to spread awareness and strategies for tackling the threat posed by new substances. The new recreational drug market parallels the Internet-based market for counterfeit or illegally sold pharmaceuticals.

SNAP discovered roughly 70 cases of acute intoxication requiring hospital treatment for substances acquired via Internet in Italy. Authorities warn that the figure is just the tip of the iceberg, as most cases are not reported.

The new plan is endorsed by the United Nations and 10 scientific bodies.

The first seminar presentation will be held on Tuesday at the Universita' Cattolica in Rome.