Global Drug Survey 2017 results provide insight into Scottish drug trends

Yesterday (24th of May) saw the release of the 2017 results of the Global Drugs Survey conducted in partnership with global media and harm reduction partners, including Scottish Drugs Forum.

Now in its fourth year, the study looks at how recreational drugs are used internationally and identifies any emergent trends that authorities and policy-makers need to be aware of.

The 2017 report spoke to 120,000 people in over 50 global nations and spoke to 708 people in Scotland.

Key findings for Scotland include:

– People in Scotland are more likely to seek emergency department treatment for Cocaine, MDMA and alcohol than in the rest of the UK
– Scotland has higher rates of consumption of illegal drugs than the global average
– The top 3 drugs people reported using in Scotland within the last 12 months were cannabis, MDMA and Cocaine
– Scotland have significantly higher levels of people reporting hazardous drinking scores than the global averages for both men and women.
– 30% or cannabis users and 36%of cocaine users would like to use less with smaller numbers saying they would like treatment to do so highlighting a need for continued emphasis on harm reduction information and services for a cohort who are unlikely to access mainstream treatment and perhaps more likely to utilise emergency services

Key findings for wider UK include:

– Greater purity drugs have lead to a doubling of the number of UK cocaine users being admitted to A&E in the last two years
– The rate at which UK drug users are buying drugs on the Darknet has doubled since 2014
– There has been a major rise in the number of UK drugs users experimenting with psychedelics

David Liddell, Chief Executive Officer of Scottish Drugs Forum said in response to the results:

“The Global Drug Survey gives a useful insight into the range and levels of drugs used in Scotland by people who often do not engage with drug treatment services. This report highlights the gap in service provision for people who would like to cut down their use of cocaine or cannabis in Scotland and reinforces other research about Scotland’s relationship with problematic alcohol use.

“The majority of drug services have developed in Scotland to respond to opiate use and whilst of course this continues to be our main problem, it does suggest that people seeking help with their use of other drugs find it difficult to access the appropriate help and support. This is evidenced by higher use of emergency services for alcohol, cocaine and MDMA and suggests a continued need to offer harm reduction advice and information to this population.”

Click here for more information on the results.

Click here to view a video that provides an overview of the key findings.