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A Journal on Forensic Medicine




Minerva Medicolegale 2006 June;126(2):191-206

language: Italian

The spread of new illicit drugs in Italy

Zacà S. 1, La Sala E. 2, Blancato I. 3

1 S.C.D.U. Medicina Legale Ospedale Gradenigo, Torino
2 Istituto di Medicina Legale, Area Criminalistica Ospedale Gradenigo, Torino
3 Dipartimento di Scienze Cognitive Università degli Studi di Torino, Torino


The spread of illicit drugs and associated criminal acts has become a chronic problem. Just as in the United States and other countries, so now too in Italy the drug scene has changed dramatically with the recent introduction of so-called “new drugs” on the market in addition to those already circulating. This article describes the various types of new drugs and the historic context, focusing on their principal characteristics and the physical and psychological effects they produce. The correlations between their use and associated criminal acts are outlined. The attitude of drug users to these new drugs is overwhelmingly positive, since they create a sense of happiness and reduce insecurity and fear, without exposing the user to the risk of infection or leaving telltale signs of use. The increased popularity of recreational drugs and the “quick high” these substances can give have led young drug users to underestimate the severe psychic and physical damage that ensue, as well the difficulty in breaking the habit. The widespread availability and use of these drugs is cause for alarm.

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