The Drugs Wheel

The Drugs Wheel was originally designed as a training tool. By 2012 there was an increasing number of new psychoactive substances on the market that didn’t fit within the old methods of drug classification, and adding three new categories (cannabinoids, empathogens and dissociatives) meant that all drugs could now be placed within one model.

Classifying drugs in this way allows for advice and harm reduction information to be given by category, meaning that workers don’t need to know in-depth details of all the drugs currently on the market. The inner and outer rings of the wheel can be adapted; for example they could refer to prescribed or non-prescribed drugs, risk levels or licenced/non-licenced.

The Drugs Wheel  is also accompanied by the Effects Wheel, a very useful tool outlining various desired and undesired effects that each type of substance may cause.

These tools not only will allow practitioners to classify existing substances but will also help people better understand and navigate the landscape of novel psychoactive substances (NPS) and related effects.

To find out more about the Drugs Wheel, access updates, and download free materials visit Download the Drugs Wheel leaflet and the printable instructions for the Drugs Wheel Game.

The Drugs Wheel was designed by Mark Adley in collaboration with DrugWatch.

Last updated: 14th June 2017

The Drugs Wheel – basic









The Drugs Wheel – detailed



The Effects Wheel