Global Drug Survey spotting emerging trends


Long shadow of a young person walking

The Global Drug Survey (GDS), an independent research company based in the United Kingdom, have released their latest annual survey results.

In 2020 GDS collected responses from over 110,000 people in 25 countries, the results include answers to questions about drug use over a lifetime, previous year and month, how and where they were taken, key concerns, types of drugs and other varied questions.

The survey is a voluntary, online and anonymous. GDS says that they recruit "younger, more experienced drug using populations" to "spot emerging drugs trends before they enter into the general population".

GDS reports that in 2020 respondents of the survey were 66 per cent male and 52 per cent aged under 25 years, with 22 per cent of the sample aged 35 years or older. Notably, 87 per cent of all surveyed were of Caucasian decent and 38 per cent had at least an undergraduate degree as their highest level of educational attainment. 70 per cent had used an illicit drug in the last year and 54 per cent reported going "clubbing" 4 or more times per year.

Key findings

Among the 20 most commonly drugs used in the last 12 months:

  • 8 were psychedelic or dissociative drugs
  • 6 were stimulant drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine (Ice) and MDMA
  • 3 were prescription CNS depressants such as opioids and benzodiazepines
  • 2 were tobacco or nicotine-based products

Excluding alcohol and tobacco or nicotine products, the top 10 drugs used in the last 12 months were:

1. THC-containing cannabis
3. CBD-only cannabis products (non-psychoactive)
4. Cocaine
5. Amphetamine
6. LSD
7. Benzodiazepines
8. Magic mushrooms
9. Ketamine
10. Prescription opioids

For a link to the full report and further details visit Global Drug Survey 2020 Key Findings Report.

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