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Currently Applied Naming Conventions for Various Subclassifications of Novel Psychoactive Substances

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2022
12 pages

This technical note outlines recommended naming conventions for subclassifications for several popular novel psychoactive substances (NPS), it is part of the final report by the Medicolegal Death Investigation Data Exchange Working Group (MDI-Data-WG), which was formed to advance forensic science and ensure communication between scientists and stakeholders.


This document is part of the Medicolegal Death Investigation Data Exchange Working Group (MDI-Data-WG) effort to disseminate information to all relevant stakeholders and facilitate information exchange of data related to drug overdose mortality, including guidance on moving toward consistency, data standards, and the best practices for improving the process of handling novel psychoactive substances. This technical note to the final report outlines recommended naming conventions for several novel psychoactive substances (NPS) subclassifications but the list is not all-inclusive. NPS’s presented in this document fall within the following classes: synthetic cannabinoids; stimulants and hallucinogens; opioids; and benzodiazepines. NPS classes are broken down into commonly encountered subclassifications, which are defined by core structural features. Example figures and the currently used naming conventions are included for each substance.

Date Published: May 1, 2022