WS 0 – Management and coordination of the Project
WS 1 – Generation of data and knowledge
It focuses on 4 main research issues/activities:
The criminological analysis (Act. 1.1) will outline/map NPS supply chains in terms of production, distribution and sales, with specific regards to the Internet and to the role of organized crime. Two pilot studies will focus on the relationship between payment cards frauds and the use of counterfeit/stolen cards to buy NPS online, and on the role of Internet darknets in the development of online sub-supply chains on NPS for information exchange. The results achieved will give inputs to Act. 1.2 and will develop the knowledge base/materials needed for WS 2 and WS 3.
The chemical analysis (Act. 1.2) will produce robust/adaptive technology to observe trends in production/distribution by monitoring the levels of active ingredients, cutting agents and impurities. By evaluating metal impurities/cutting agents present in NPS products using computational approaches, this can give an indication if a group of Internet products were cut or produced at the same location, thus supporting supply chain analysis.
Hand-held Raman spectroscopic data will be also evaluated for their effectiveness to identify NPS constituents in a wide range of NPS products, which are notoriously chemically complex. The use of hand-held Raman spectrometers can enable a diverse range of professionals/officers, e.g. the police, border control and paramedics, to identify the index NPS.
Finally, this Activity will uniquely integrate ‘real-time’ NPS-related data identified with innovative chemical/computational analyses to facilitate the generation of data being used to inform/empower targeted approaches in interdiction/law enforcement
The legal and forensic analysis (Act.1.3) will assess the existing scenario at EU/MS level, in order to outline those issues (also at an ethical level) hindering the development of legally and forensic sustainable approaches that effectively regulate the market for NPS and prevent substances that pose a threat to health from entering the market. It will develop recommendations/inputs for EU institutions, MS LEAs and national competent authorities
The collection of best practices of handling of NPS related cases by police at a local level (Act.1.4) will focus on existing experiences with a view to foster information-sharing and promote structural cooperation. Information will be shared by WS2/WS3.
WS 2 – Visibility and information sharing focuses on networking, dissemination, awareness and empowerment of target groups/final beneficiaries. It is based on events (national seminars, international workshop hosted by Interpol, final conference) and on the materials developed in W1.
WS 3 – Cooperation, among other things, develops an online platform for Project target groups and includes several informative services (i.e. SMILE, NPS newsmap service, News&Bites), as well as opportunities to enhance networking and mutual collaboration (i.e. forum).