Erowid References Database
Griffiths Pl, Sedefov R, Gallegos A, Lopez D.
“How globalization and market innovation challenge how we think about and respond to drug use: ‘Spice’ a case study”.
‘Spice’ is a herbal mixture sold on the internet, samples of which have been found to contain new synthetic drugs which produce effects similar to cannabis. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction EMCDDA’s early warning system on new drugs provides an important case study in how globalization and innovation present challenges to drug control.
The story of ‘Spice’ provides an important case study in howglobalization and innovation in the drug market presents a growing challenge to current approaches to monitoring, responding to and controlling the use of new psychoactive substances. ‘Spice’ is a herbal mixture sold principally on the internet, and in some countries in specialist shops offering legal alternatives to controlled substances. The packaging is sophisticated, and many different mixtures have been released under the generic ‘Spice’ brand. These often exotically named mixtures, such as ‘Spice Gold’, ‘Diamond’ and ‘Silver’, purportedly contain different combinations of herbs, some of which may have psychoactive properties. The products have probably been available in Europe since 2004, if not earlier, but they only started to attract wider attention in 2007, and began to be monitored by the European early warning system on new drugs during the first months of 2008 . This mechanism is part of a Europe-wide threestep approach of information exchange/early warning risk assessment and decision-making for the detection and possible control of new psychoactive substances.
‘Spice’ is sold under a number of guises, commonly as an exotic incense blend, and usually contains a warning note stating that it is not for human consumption. This information is juxtaposed with sophisticated marketing that would suggest that it may have other uses. The use and marketing of herbal mixtures is not new, and a range of non-controlled plants and fungi are sometimes used for their psychoactive or supposedly psychoactive effects.
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