Novel Psychoactive Substances – Legal Highs Training Course

NPS trainingThe term ‘novel psychoactive substances’ (NPS) refers to newly available drugs that mimic the effects of traditional illegal drugs such as cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine. They are often referred to as ‘legal highs’.

Course description

This legal highs training course focuses on different types, current prevalence,  health / psychiatric issues and effective interventions.


  • To explore current trends and prevalence in the UK

  • To gain a template for understanding the broad spectrum of new psychoactive substances and the main chemical groupings, to assist in making better informed decisions about how to respond

  • To achieve a deeper level of knowledge about common NPS such as synthetic cannabinoids and mephedrone, together with health and psychiatric issues, appropriate interventions/treatments

  • Understand and apply effective harm minimisation strategies and techniques

  • To increase confidence in working with this client group

  • To increase competence in working with this client group

Learning outcomes:

By the end of the session participants will be able to;

  • Summarise and understand the issues relating to Novel Psychoactive Substances and the chemical families they belong to

  • Know where to source information to identify new substances and a professional response to them, using new technologies and online tools

  • Explain how these drugs are used and the effects upon the body and nervous system

  • Apply evidence-based interventions and treatment tools to work with individual drug users symptoms / issues and how this fits into current care planning

  • Have increased their confidence, knowledge and skills in working with an NPS using client group

Staff that will benefit from this training include:

Drug Workers & Managers, Social Workers, Health / Mental Health Workers, Nurses & GPs, Psychiatrist, Youth Workers, Anti-Social Behaviour Workers, Youth Offending Teams, Probation Staff, Prison Staff, Teachers, University Staff, Student Unions, Housing Workers, Community Wardens, Police Community Support Officers and Police Officers.

Drug and alcohol national occupational standards

  • AA1 Recognise indications of substance misuse and refer individuals to specialists.
  • HSC233 Relate to, and interact with, individuals.
  • HSC3111 Promote the equality, diversity, rights and responsibilities of individuals.
  • AB2 Support individuals who are substance users.
  • HSC33 Develop your own knowledge and practice.
  • AD1 Raise awareness about substances, their use and effects.