Novel Substances - Minnesota Department of Health

Novel Substances

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.
Updated Friday, 10-Apr-2020 18:11:56 CDT