It’s the biggest drug survey in the world and the results are a look into the dark and not-so-dark side of illicit as well as non-illicit drugs.
The Global Drug Survey 2017 researched the drug-taking habits of 120,000 people across 50 countries, including around 5750 Australia respondents.
Let’s take a look at some of the key findings from the survey:
- 3% of respondents said they have used illegal drugs in their lifetime.
- 1% said they’ve used illegal drugs in the past 12 months, with 36.8% claiming they’ve used in the past month.
- Not surprisingly, alcohol was the top drug used by respondents at least once in their lifetime. What is surprising is that second was cannabis, with tobacco in third.
- Taking away common legal drugs (alcohol, tobacco and caffeinated energy drinks) cannabis is easily the most used drug with 77.8% of respondents having used at least once in their lifetime. Next was MDMA (ecstasy) with 33.5% and cocaine with 29.5%.
- Of the Australians that were surveyed who drink alcohol, 44.3% said they’d like to drink less, but only 15.5% said they would like help to do so.
- For cannabis, 30.9% of those Australian respondents who were cannabis users said they would like to use less, with 14.4% wanting help to do so.
- For cocaine, the figures were 24.8% and 5.5% respectively.
- The average number of days when Australians took ecstasy was 10, slightly above the global average of 9. However, when it comes to swallowing ecstasy, we’re the world leaders. 74.4% of Australian respondents who use the drug said they take ecstasy by swallowing a pill or capsule, while the global average is a mere 49%.
- ICE, a member of the methamphetamine family of drugs, gets a lot of media attention in Australia, but the number of hospitalisations after using meth is higher in Canada than it is in this country.
- Globally, methamphetamines are responsible for more emergency medical treatments than any other drug.
- Just over 8% of respondents in Australian said they have used the dark net to obtain drugs in the past 12 months.
- Globally, MDMA is the number one drug being obtained on the dark net, followed by cannabis.
Over the past 4 years, around 400,000 people have taken part in the Global Drug Survey or GDS.
GDS is an independent global drug use data exchange hub that is comprised of experts from the fields of medicine, toxicology, public health, psychology, chemistry, public policy, criminology, sociology, harm reduction and addiction. The aim of the surveys is to provide relevant and important information to both people who use drugs and those who develop public health and drug policy.