Professor Andy Parrott from Swansea University, is one of the organizers for the 5th International Conference on Novel Psychoactive Substances, being held at the United Nations in Vienna, on 23rd-24th October

The United Nations has become increasingly concerned about the spread of novel drugs worldwide, since they are causing increasing problems, and can be even more damaging when taken by disadvantaged individuals. The UN conference will discuss ways of preventing their further spread, and educate physicians about the treatment of side effects, in order to minimize drug-related deaths. It follows earlier conferences, including one held at Swansea University in 2013, which was co-organised by Professor Parrott (School of Human & Health Sciences). In his latest paper at the United Nations, Prof Parrott will describe the ways in which these drugs can damage human health and well-being. Two of this postgraduate students, Lewis Jones and Jemima Howard, will also be presenting research papers. Theirs will focus on the damaging effects of mephedrone or m-cat, describing the research studies they undertook while MSc students at Swansea. One of the central themes of the UN conference is that while many of the older illicit drugs are certainly very damaging, some of these novel substance can be even more dangerous. For instance while cannabis is damaging in many different ways, the 'spice' cannabinoids can be even more problematic. In overall terms, no drugs are safe, and the best course is always total abstinence.