Key findings from the Global Drug Survey2016 (Data collected Nov 15-Jan 16)

The Informative Headshop have compiled all of the findings specifically relating to New Psychoactive Substances from the 2015-2016 survey:

Key findings from the Global Drug Survey2016 (data collected Nov 15-Jan 16) more people shopping on the dark net, more people using MDMA & experiencing harm, synthetic cannabinoids the most dangerous drugs in the world.

Overall our data suggests that while traditional drugs retain their dominance and appear to carry less risk than their NPS counterparts, the NPS market continues to evolve.

Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) Trends in the UK
-most people buy NPS on-line

-UK has highest rate of last year NPS purchase of any GDS country (11.6% of UK sample)

-GDS2016 reports increase in UK last year purchase of NPS after falling rates over last 4 years

-Decline in high street NPS purchases from 46.3% in GDS2014 to 34.6% in GDS2016. -58% of those reporting buying NPS last year did so on-line

-3 times more likely end up seeking emergency medical treatment with NPS than traditional drugs

-MDMA, cannabis, new or novel substances (including 2C-B and DMT) and LSD are the drugs most commonly bought

Synthetic Cannabinoids (SCs) and A&E
-Synthetic cannabinoids more likely to lead to emergency medical treatment than any other drug

-1 in 8 of those using weekly or more often reported seeking emergency medical treatment (3.5% of all users)

-Overall risk of seeking emergency medical treatment when using SCs is 30 times greater than skunk

-Over half of those using more than 50 times in last year who tried to stop reported withdrawal symptoms

Nitrous Oxide
- Biggest study of nitrous oxide use ever

- Increasing rates of use in the UK and globally nitrous oxide is now ranked the 7th most popular drug in the world and the 4th most commonly used drug by UK clubbers

- 10% of users worried about impact of mental / physical health

- 4% reporting symptoms of nerve damage due to vitamin B12 deficiency

- The UK had the highest rates of nitrous oxide use, with over a third (34%) of all UK respondents reporting they had used laughing gas in the last year NPS Trends in the UK and globally After a year on year decline in UK participants reporting buying any NPS in the last year from a high of 20% in GDS2012 to a low of 8.6% in GDS2015, this year the UK saw a rise in last year purchase to 11.6%, the highest rate of any country assessed. The next highest rates were found in the USA

NPS Trends in the UK and globally
After a year on year decline in UK participants reporting buying any NPS in the last year from a high of 20% in GDS2012 to a low of 8.6% in GDS2015, this year the UK saw a rise in last year purchase to 11.6%, the highest rate of any country assessed. The next highest rates were found in the USA, Canada and surprisingly the Netherlands with the lowest rates in Switzerland. Globally the mean rate was 4.8%.

58% of UK participants reporting buying NPS last year did so on-line. Prior to the passing of the NPs Bill in May 2016, there had been increasing local efforts often spear headed by Trading Standards to close high street shops selling NPS products. Over the last 3 years GDS has reported a decline in high street purchase from 46.3% in GDS2014, 44.9% in GDS2015 to 34.6% in GDS2016. Over the same time frame there has been an increase in buying them from a ‘dealer’ from 8.5% to 12.7%.

Globally the top motivations for using NPS reflected the advantages of these products being legal - easy access to them on-line and price. Thinking these drugs were safer than illicit drugs was the lowest ranked factor - and indicates that people are not stupid and media myths of people think legal = safe is untrue.

Access the full report here