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Special Issue "Pharmaco-Toxicological Effects of Novel Psychoactive Substances"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Neurobiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Matteo Marti
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Translational Medicine, Section of Legal Medicine and LTTA Centre, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy
Interests: Pharmaco-toxicology of drug abuse; Novel Psychoactive Substances; Forensic toxicology; Sex/gender differences; Safety pharmacology studies
Dr. Liana Fattore
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
National Research Council of Italy, Institute of Neuroscience, Cagliari, Italy
Interests: neuropsychopharmacology; behavioral neuroscience; neurobiology of drug abuse; psychiatric comorbidities; sex/gender differences
Dr. Carlo Locatelli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri Spa – Società benefit, 4 Pavia PV, Italy
Interests: toxicology; chemical exposure
Dr. Monia Lenzi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology, Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
Interests: chemoprevention; genotoxicity; in vitro toxicology; bioactive molecules; natural compounds; flow cytometry

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Novel psychoactive substances (NPS) are a broad range of substances not included in the United Nations drug control conventions and in recent years have increasingly been detected by police, hospitals and forensic laboratory networks. To date, more than 900 NPS belonging to different pharmacological categories have been identified (e.g., synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones, hallucinogenic phenethylamines, synthetic opioids, new benzodiazepines and dissociative anesthetics), which are usually sold via the internet as “bath salts”, “plant food” or “legal highs”. NPS detection in the context of seizures and in biological samples is challenging, and the legal status is often a grey zone, posing a real threat to public health due to their unpredictable toxicological effects, including lethal outcomes. Data on the prevalence and toxicity of these drugs and on their pharmacokinetics and pharmaco-toxicological effects are scarce. From a forensic and toxicological point of view, a relevant emerging problem is connected to NPSs’ severe adverse effects, the difficulty to manage acute toxicity and the complex identification of intoxication for both the forensic toxicologist and the medical examiner. Another aspect that has been more recently identified but is of great toxicological and social importance is represented by their possible genotoxic effects and the well-known long-term impact on human health.

Dr. Matteo Marti
Dr. Liana Fattore
Dr. Carlo A. Locatelli
Dr. Monia Lenzi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Novel psychoactive substances
  • Synthetic cannabinoids
  • Synthetic cathinones
  • Synthetic opioids
  • Phenethylamines
  • Dissociative anesthetics
  • New benzodiazepines
  • Forensic toxicology
  • Genotoxicity
  • Neuropsychopharmacology
  • Neurobiology of drug abuse

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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