By 2012 there was an increasing number of new psychoactive substances on the market that didn’t fit within previous methods of drug classification. Many substance awareness training sessions made use of an ‘Other’ category to include drugs such as synthetic cannabinoids, empathogenic drugs such as 5-APB and dissociatives such as MXE. However this ‘Other’ category quickly became filled with these new drugs; it was time for a more complete model to adjust to this changing landscape.
Initial attempts to classify drugs by drug type (such as tryptamine, phenethylamine, arylcyclohexylamine etc.) proved too complex. However, adding the three new categories of cannabinoids, empathogens and dissociatives meant that all drugs could now be placed neatly within one model.
Classifying drugs in this way allows for advice and harm reduction information to be given by category, meaning that workers don’t need to know in-depth details of every compound.
There are now localised or translated Drugs Wheels: Spanish, French, Portuguese, Dutch, Italian, Australian, Bulgarian and Polish.
The full website dedicated to The Drugs Wheel has multiple versions of the wheel, training, information sheets, and more.