Publication - Research and analysis

Understanding the patterns of use, motives, and harms of new psychoactive substances in Scotland

Published: 30 Nov 2016
Population Health Directorate
Part of:
Health and social care

This report presents the results of mixed methods research on new psychoactive substance use.

Understanding the patterns of use, motives, and harms of new psychoactive substances in Scotland
Glossary: Drug Wheel Categories

Glossary: Drug Wheel Categories

This report utilises The Drugs Wheel to categorise substances into comparable groups. This tool, developed by Mark Adley, was developed in response to the rapidly expanding number of psychoactive substances available. More information on this tool can be found at A visual presentation of the wheel is found within the 'Introduction' section of this report. The table below presents a breakdown of the categories, providing common effects and examples for each.

Name Common Effects [1] Example(s)
Cannabinoids "Stoned", calm, munchies, chilled out, floaty, giggly, sensual, paranoid, dry mouth, anxiety, lazy, mental health issues. Cannabis
Depressants "Buzzing", euphoric, confident, relaxed, risk-taking, withdrawal, unconsciousness, coma, vomiting, death. Diazepam, GHB/ GBL, Gabapentin
Dissociatives "Out of body", euphoric, floaty, disconnected, relaxed, numb, scared, unable to move, in a "hole". Ketamine, Salvia, Methoxetamine
Empathogens "Loved up", connectedness, warmth, understanding, sweating, arousal, mood swings, depression. MDMA (ecstasy), PMA, MDAI
Opioids "Invincible", confident, pain-free, safe, euphoric, constricted pupils, addiction, hallucinations, withdrawal, overdose. Heroin, Tramadol, Morphine
Psychedelics "Trips", spiritual connection, heightened senses, visual or auditory hallucinations, anxiety, panic, mental health issues. LSD, 5-MeO-DALT, AMT
Stimulants "Uppers", increased energy, increased heart rate, euphoria, dilated pupils, paranoia, anxiety, sexual arousal, sexual impotence, comedowns. Amphetamine, Cocaine, Mephedrone