Maurits Beltgens is a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher within the University of Leicester’s INTREPID Forensics programme. His current research focuses on the availability and use of Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS). Prior to joining the University of Leicester Maurits conducted research as part of a number of EU funded research/consultancy projects on issues such as organised crime, corruption and border security. Prior to this he gained experience at two EU Justice and Home Affairs agencies (Frontex and Eurojust) where he worked on a number of cross-border organised crime investigations and conducted research on document fraud and border security technologies. Before beginning his PhD studies at the University of Leicester, Maurits obtained a BSc in Criminal Justice at Northeastern University in the United States and PG Dip in Countering Organised Crime and Terrorism at University College London.
Maurits will be carrying out research on surveying the availability and users of Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) and examining reports of NPS related deaths. NPS are a range of chemical substitutes marketed as legal alternatives to the most popular, but illegal, recreational drugs. NPS sold over the internet still contain controlled substances. Maurits will conduct a survey of the web and shop based availability of NPS. He will also undertake a survey of users of NPS in collaboration with drug treatment and prevention agencies, and consider the route to market for NPS and how users acquire an awareness of products available and their affects. Finally, he will examine reports of NPS related deaths to establish the impact of NPS on sudden deaths, especially in young people.