This past week the results from the 2015 Global Drugs Survey emerged. The survey looks at trends and attitudes among people who have some experience with drugs or alcohol.
Over 100,000 participants from 50 countries, including just under 2,500 from Ireland, completed the survey last year.
The survey revealed a number of findings such as:
– Ireland is considered to have some of the most expensive cannabis in the world with respondents reporting a gram costing €25.
– Cannabis is still the most popular illicit drug in Ireland with almost 61% of respondents consuming it.
– Over a third of respondents used cannabis on more than 100 days of the past year.
– 80% of respondents used cannabis for recreational purposes.
– Around 18% used cannabis for medicinal but also recreational purposes
– Around 2% of respondents solely used cannabis for medicinal purposes.
– Joints with tobacco are still the most common method of consuming cannabis.
– 98.5% of respondents have never been exposed to violence when purchasing cannabis.
– 0.4% of cannabis users reported to A&E, with the majority citing anxiety attacks, paranoia or breathing difficulties as their reason for doing so.
– There has been a rise in people consuming synthetic cannabis in Ireland
– You are 30 times more likely to end up in A&E following the use of synthetic cannabis over herbal cannabis. 3.5% of its users have sought medical treatment.
Some of the interesting non-cannabis finds revealed in the survey:
– Tobacco consumption is on the decline in Ireland.
– Ireland is the second biggest consumer of ecstasy at with just under 2 pills (1.98) per person consumed on each occasion.
– 7.4% of Irish participants said they purchased drugs online, considerably lower than other countries.
– 11% admitted to consuming a mystery white powder.
– 12% of respondents have used cognitive enhancers aka ‘smart drugs’ to improve academic or work performance.
– From the countries surveyed Ireland has the highest rate of drinkers at risk of dependence.
For the full survey results and data click here
Looking at the data in relation to cannabis consumption there are few surprises, if any.
The figure of cannabis costing €25 per gram I would argue is on the higher end of the spectrum. The real cost per gram on the street is likely in the €15 – €25 range.
Price varies within towns let alone nationwide, but while the figure of €25 may not reflect everyone’s experiences it does perhaps convey the high cost generally of cannabis
You can read my blog post about the curse of the fifty bag to learn more about Ireland’s expensive cannabis.
Cannabis being the most popular drug of choice is not surprising and this revealation comes just shortly after an EU report found one in four of Irish adults have used cannabis
The fact that joints and those which mixed with tobacco are the most common method of consumption is hardly surprising.
Likewise the low uptake of those vaporising or edibles is hardly unexpected. Although it will be interesting to see if this trend will grow in the coming years.
The gap between those who use cannabis solely for recreational purposes and solely for medicinal purposes is large.
The rise in the use of synthetic cannabis and the significant increase of the likelihood of a visit to A&E is significant.
This rise comes despite the banning of the products made popular by headshops, while the increase in risk seems to tally with the international experience with synthetic cannabis.
Other findings such as 11% of respondents consuming a mystery white powder must be somewhat alarming to those who favour harm reduction policies.
The low use of the internet for the purchasing of drugs is somewhat surprising, but it is perhaps still a niche market. The recent trials related to Silk Road may have damaged the potential for more consumers to move online to purchase their cannabis
If you want to learn more about the survey there are a couple of radio interviews worth checking out.
Stuart Clark from Hotpress Magazine was also speaking on Newstalk during the week about the survey and about our new Minister for Drugs Strategy. You can listen back here (It’s the first interview on the show)