What is a novel substance?
- Novel substances are novel, or new, substances not previously identified by drug experts and include illicit drugs and counterfeit prescription medications.
- Novel substances include fentanyl analogs (e.g., acetylfentanyl, acrylfentanyl, carfentanyl/carfentanil, furanylfentanyl) and synthetic opioids (e.g., U-47700).
- Novel substances include more than opioids such as synthetic cannabinoids, cathinones, and novel benzodiazepines.
What should the public know about novel substances?
- The drugs available change rapidly.
- Any drug purchased off the street, and possibly online, is likely adulterated, e.g. cut, mixed, laced, or contains multiple substances, and unpredictable.
- The color and appearance of a drug does not indicate anything about its contents or potency.
- Don’t trust the source. For example, if a particular drug was purchased from a person before, it does not mean the product is consistent or will act the same in a body compared with a previous experience.
Information for those who use drugs:
- Carry life-saving naloxone.
- Train those around you to carry and use naloxone.
- Do not use substances alone.
- Develop a safety plan for every time you use.
- For assistance developing a safety plan or other harm reduction services, visit a syringe service program.
Resources available on novel substances and substance use:
- In the case of an overdose emergency, call 911 immediately.
- For questions about drug interactions, poisonings, or to report a drug overdose, call Minnesota Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 – available 24/7 and confidential.
- Download a PDF version of this page: Novel Substances (PDF).
Please visit the Opioid Dashboard
for more information on opioid overdose death, nonfatal overdose, use, misuse, substance use disorder, prescribing practices, supply, diversion, harm reduction, co-occurring conditions, and social determinants of health.