OPEN Foundation

Close this search box.

Predicting the Abuse Liability of Entactogen-Class, New and Emerging Psychoactive Substances via Preclinical Models of Drug Self-administration

Share This Post


Animal models of drug self-administration are currently the gold standard for making predictions regarding the relative likelihood that a recreational drug substance will lead to continued use and addiction. Such models have been found to have high predictive accuracy and discriminative validity for a number of drug classes including ethanol, nicotine, opioids, and psychostimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine. Members of the entactogen class of psychostimulants (drugs that produce an “open mind state” including feelings of interpersonal closeness, intimacy and empathy) have been less frequently studied in self-administration models. The prototypical entactogen 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; “Ecstasy”) supports self-administration but not with the same consistency nor with the same efficacy as structurally related drugs amphetamine or methamphetamine. Consistent with these observations, MDMA use is more episodic in the majority of those who use it frequently. Nevertheless, substantial numbers of MDMA users will meet the criteria for substance dependence at some point in their use history. This review examines the currently available evidence from rodent self-administration studies of MDMA and two of the new and emerging psychoactive substances (NPS) that produce entactogen type neuropharmacological responses – mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone; 4MMC; “meow meow”) and methylone (3,4-methylenedioxymethcathinone). Overall, the current evidence predicts that these NPS entactogens have enhanced abuse liability compared with MDMA.

Aarde, S. M., & Taffe, M. A. (2016). Predicting the Abuse Liability of Entactogen-Class, New and Emerging Psychoactive Substances via Preclinical Models of Drug Self-administration. 10.1007/7854_2016_54
Link to full text

OPEN Foundation

Join ICPR 2022 Online!

ICPR features world-leading experts from many academic disciplines, including psychiatry, psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, ethnobotany, and philosophy who come together to give a scientific conference for academics, therapists, researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and members of the public. Get your ICPR 2022 livestream ticket today and use the code OPENLIVE30 at checkout for a €30 discount.

Learn More


Subscribe to our new OPEN-Minded newsletter to stay in the loop, hear about our events, and become a part of a community dedicated to advancing psychedelics.

By clicking subscribe, I confirm to receive emails from the OPEN Foundation and agree with its privacy policy.