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Fighting Against Emerging Drugs

IQS participates in the European project NEXTGenPS, with the aim of detecting addictive and potentially hallucinogenic substances and facilitating the implementation of control measures for them in the European Union.
Fighting Against Emerging Drugs
Members of the NEXTGenPS project at the launch session

The Pharmaceutical Chemistry Group (GQF) within the IQS School of Engineering is participating in the European NEXTGenPS project, which aims to detect addictive and potentially hallucinogenic substances and facilitate the implementation of control measures for them in the European Union. The project, led by the University of Barcelona, features researchers from various European universities in addition to IQS – URL, including Pronexus with the Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), the Universität Graz (Austria), and the Université de Poitiers (France). The launch session of the project took place this March in Barcelona.

Led by Dr Xavier Berzosa, the IQS researchers from the GQF group are contributing their extensive experience in the synthesis of organic compounds to the project.

Fighting against emergent drugs

By the end of 2019, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction – EMCDDA –  had detected more than 700 new psychoactive substances (NPS), among which are new psycho-stimulants and hallucinogens widely used among the population the short and long-term effects of which remain unknown. These NPS are designed to mimic traditional drugs and avoid EU legislation and potentially becoming illegal as the time period from when they appear on the illegal market until they are banned is quite long, leading to serious effects for people.

It is therefore essential to take swift action in order to control these substances in the EU. With this in mind, the NEXTGenPS project “Early and effective detection of addictive and hallucinogenic potential in the next generation of psychoactive drugs to speed up the implementation of control measures by the UE” features the main objective of early identification and characterization of these new psychostimulants and hallucinogens through new predictive strategies. NEXTGenPS is an innovative research project within the framework of NPS abuse to provide effective responses to the illicit and rapidly changing market of illegal narcotic drug sales.

NEXTGenPS will select eight new NPS, chosen from the EU databases based on their innovative profile, lack of scientific knowledge about them, and their potential to induce hallucinogenic effects.

These NPS will be synthesized and properly characterized by IQS researchers. Likewise, analytical methodologies and protocols will be developed for toxicological controls.

Finally, the mechanisms of action of the drugs and their psychostimulant, hallucinogenic, and addictive properties will be established through tests on rodents.

Previous Studies 

  1. Nadal, E.Lleixà, M.Gibert, R.Estrada, X.Berzosda, X.Batllori, D.Pubill, J.Camarasa, E.-Escubedo, R.Lopez; Neuropsychopharmacology of Emerging Drugs of Abuse: meta- and para-Halogen-Ring-Substituted α-PVP (“flakka”) Derivatives, Int. J. Mol. Sci2022, 23(4), 2226.
  1. Duart, N.Nadal, M.Murater, B.Puster, X.Berzosa, R.Estrada, M.Niello, S.Bhat, D.Pubill, J.Camarasa, H.H.Sitte, E.Escubedo, R.Lopez; Role of amino terminal substitutions in the pharmacological rewarding and psychostimulant profiles of novel synthetic cathinones, Neurpharmacology, 2021, 186, 108475.





Grup de Química Farmacèutica

School of Engineering

Pharmaceutical Chemistry Group

The research focuses on two main areas: New Drugs in Biomedicine and Health Sciences and Flow Chemistry Processes.


Chemical Reactions for Innovative Solutions

School of Engineering

Chemical Reactions for Innovative Solutions

CRISOL is a powerful team capable of offering innovative chemical tools that make it real solutions to the challenges of Molecular Science.


NextGenPS (Farmacovigilancia de sustancias psicoactivas)

Detección temprana y efectiva del potencial adictivo y alucinógeno en la siguiente generación de fármacos psicoactivos para acelerar la implementación de medidas de control en la Unión Europea.
Funding Agency:
Research Group Link:
Chemical Reactions for Innovative Solutions (CRISOL)