Drugs on the web; the Psychonaut 2002 EU project

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2006 Jun;30(4):640-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2005.11.035. Epub 2006 Feb 2.


Purpose: Only a few formal assessments of websites with drug-related contents have been carried out. We aimed here at fostering collection and analysis of data from web pages related to information on consumption, manufacture and sales of psychoactive substances.

General methods: An 8-language, two-engine, assessment of the information available in a purposeful sample of 1633 unique websites was carried out.

Findings: A pro-drug and a harm reduction approach were evident, respectively, in 18% and 10% of websites accessed. About 1 in 10 websites offered either psychoactive compounds for sale or detailed data on drugs' synthesis/extraction procedures. Information on a number of psychoactive substances and on unusual drugs' combinations not found in the Medline was elicited.

Conclusions: This represents the first review which is both comprehensive and multilingual of the online available information on psychoactive compounds. Health professionals may need to be aware of the web being a new drug resource for information and possibly purchase.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / methods*
  • Internet*
  • Psychotropic Drugs* / adverse effects
  • Psychotropic Drugs* / supply & distribution
  • Psychotropic Drugs* / therapeutic use


  • Psychotropic Drugs