This factsheet describes methods used to monitor trends in the use of substances via the internet and our experiences with them. In recent years, the Trimbos Institute has collected information about new psychoactive substances (also called designer drugs or research chemicals), on internet forums where these substances are discussed. The reason for writing this factsheet is that online monitoring is now used in various projects, but the knowledge and experiences with using the various methods that we have used have not been bundled.
The objective of this factsheet is to provide insight into our experiences based on the following three questions:
- What is online drug monitoring and how is it used?
- What experiences have we had in recent years with online monitoring?
- What is the added value of online monitoring when compared to regular substance monitors?