To examine the purchasing and supply patterns of new psychoactive substance (NPS) consumers in Australia.
Data were obtained from a self-selected sample of 296 past-year NPS consumers, with comparisons made across dimethyltryptamine (n = 104), 2C-x (n = 59), NBOMe (n = 27), and synthetic cannabinoid (n = 22) users.
Most consumers (58%) nominated a friend as their main NPS source, and almost half (46%) reported that they had supplied NPS to others in the past year (predominantly “social supply”). However, when comparisons were made across NPS, NBOMe users were more likely to nominate a dealer (30%) or online marketplace (22%) as their main source and to report: supplying NPS to others (63%); supplying to strangers (29%) and acquaintances (24%); and supplying NPS for cash profit (29%). Similarly, NPS consumers who nominated online markets as their main NPS source (9%; n = 26) were more likely to have supplied NPS to others (risk ratio [RR] 1.57); supplied to strangers (RR 6.05) and acquaintances (RR 12.11); sold NPS for cash profit (RR 4.36); and to have exchanged NPS for something else (RR 3.27) than those who reported alternative primary sources.
NBOMe consumers and those who nominated online markets as their main NPS source reported greater engagement with for-profit supply; it is unclear if these individuals have “drifted” into dealing or if they were already engaged in such activities.
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