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10 Things Revealed in the Global Drug Survey


The Global Drug Survey is a worldwide questionnaire, with partners in 20 countries, that helps to gather information on global drug trends, directly from the people that use them. Last year 80,000 people participated in the questionnaire and this year this figure is expected to reach 120,000.

The survey asks questions such as where do you buy your drugs, how frequently do you use drugs and which drugs you use and why. Here we are looking at some of the key points and issues raised in previous surveys.

1) More than 1 in 5 UK drug users have purchased their drugs online

Of those that did 44.1% had first done so in 2012 or 2013. The UK has adapted quickly to the new way of obtaining drugs via the internet where as in the US only 14.3% of respondents had purchased drugs online. 

2) Over 1 in 10 UK drug users took a ‘mystery white powder’

Last year’s survey found that 11% of UK respondents had, within the last 12 months, taken a ‘white powder’ despite not knowing what kind of drug it was. 80% of them took the powder when they were intoxicated and a third was aged between 18-24yrs. 

3) MDMA is not just a ‘party drug’

In the 2012 Global Drugs Survey 36% of respondents who didn’t go clubbing reported that they had used the drug within the previous 12 months, dispelling the myth that MDMA is purely a ‘party’ drug. 

4) More people said they had tried MDMA than energy drinks

In the 2014 survey more people admitted that they had taken MDMA in the last 12 months more times than they had consumed an energy drink. 

5) UK and US respondents had taken cannabis more times than tobacco

In 2012 the survey revealed that 89% of respondents had tried cannabis compared to only 85% for tobacco. 

6) Alcohol and tobacco are the two drugs that people want to cut down on most

In 2012 most of the respondents said that they wanted to cut down on alcohol and tobacco ahead of prohibited drugs like MDMA or Cocaine.

7) Most respondents do not know how bad their alcohol dependency is

When completing the 2014 Global Drug Survey people were also asked to complete the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT). The questionnaire is designed by the World Health Organisation to determine alcohol dependency levels. 7% of respondents were “probably dependent drinkers or at risk of becoming dependent”, the survey found. More worryingly is that 34.5% of those drinkers only viewed their drinking patterns as average or below average. 

8) 1 in 5 drug users have been taken advantage of sexually

The users questioned said that after drug or alcohol use they had been taken advantage of in a sexual way, revealed the 2013 survey.

9) Drug users are vulnerable to sexual assaults 

 14% of respondents said they had been given alcohol or drugs with the intention of that person taking sexual advantage of them and 2.4% said they had had sex without giving their consent after being drugged by someone. 

10) Synthetic cannabis is more harmful than natural cannabis

The 2012 survey showed that out of the two drugs 93% said they would choose natural cannabis over synthetic if they were given the choice. Synthetic cannabis is designed to mirror the effects of herbal cannabis but is rated as more harmful than natural weed by users of the drug and is less likely to give highs that are pleasurable. Last year’s survey results showed that users of the synthetic cannabis were more likely to have visited A&E than users of natural cannabis. 

If you would like to participate in the Global Drug Survey 2015 click here: 

Source: David Pegg & George Arnett, The Guardian, Nov 2014

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