SODAS: Surveillance of Drugs of Abuse Study

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Novel psychoactive substance (NPS) as a form of recreational drug use has become increasingly popular. There is a paucity of information with regard to the prevalence and clinical sequelae of these drugs. The aim of this study was to detect NPS in patients presenting to the emergency department with suspected toxicological ingestion.

Patients and methods

The prospective study was performed in a large emergency department in the UK. During a 3-month period 80 patients were identified by clinicians as having potentially ingested a toxicological agent. Urine samples were analysed using liquid chromatography high-resolution mass spectrometry, and basic clinical data was gathered.


Eighty patients with a history of illicit or recreational drug consumption had urine screenings performed. Forty-nine per cent (39) of the patients undergoing a screen had more than one illicit substance detected. Twenty per cent (16) of the patients tested positive for at least one NPS.


Almost half of the presented patients revealed ingestion of multiple substances, which correlated poorly with self-reporting of patients. Developing enhanced strategies to monitor evolving drug trends is crucial to the ability of clinicians to deliver care to this challenging group of patients.

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