GDS2019: If you’re interested in helping the world have honest conversations about drug use, please read on.

Professor Adam R Winstock, Dr Monica Barratt, Dr Larissa Maier & Associate Professor Jason Ferris

(the GDS Core Research Team)

Global Drug Survey (GDS) runs the world’s largest drug survey. GDS is comprised of a network of international experts in the field of drugs, health, epidemiology and public policy. GDS uses an encrypted, online survey platform to conduct annual anonymous surveys. Over the last 6 years over 550,000 people have taken part in our surveys.

Now in its 8th year, our latest survey GDS2019 which launches in November 2018, will be translated into 23 languages with partners in over 35 countries. Partnering with global media and news networks from across the globe and working with harm reduction organisations and the entertainment industry, GDS focuses on issues that are often ignored by traditional research organisations and government funded centres.

Because we are independent we are free to explore issues of relevance to people to use drugs and can focus our attention on achieving our mission of making drug use safer regardless of the legal status of the drug. All our research is approved by university ethics committees and to date has led to 50 peer reviewed publications in the last 6 years.

Addressing issues such as overdose prevention, blood borne virus, irrational drug policies, inequitable application and human rights violations are central to shifting the way we can reduce harm from drug use on a global scale. GDS complements work done by research and advocacy groups who work for change in these important areas by focusing on the drug use patterns and potential harms of the hidden masses of non-dependent drug users. In addition, we aim to identify new drug trends before they enter the wider population.

Creating a voice that is trusted for sharing that information is a challenge especially given that the most trusted source of information on drugs is from others who use drugs. GDS sees its role as translating the expertise and experience of hundreds of thousands of people who use drugs into engaging, credible and useful information about drug use behaviour and free harm reduction resources that are shared by our global media network and via our website.

Taking part in the Global Drug Survey is as important this year as any other year. The world of drugs has changed dramatically in the last decade with advances in technology opening new avenues for risk and risk reduction and changing drug regulation being seen in many regions. There is an increasing acceptance that things need to change, with calls for alternatives that would help combat the harms on democracy and diminish the destructive power of organized crime that causes hundreds of thousands of deaths each year and keep honest conversations at bay, while criminalising otherwise law-abiding citizens with the continued marginalisation of the most vulnerable in our society.

This year we are exploring this brave new world. We’ll be looking at some fascinating areas from LSD micro-dosing and the acceptability of psychedelics in psychiatry to how you’d rate different drugs, including alcohol in terms of value for money. We’ll look at the impact of cannabis health warnings on people’s knowledge and attitude towards use and investigate why people use cannabis edibles.  We are revisiting drugs and policing and asking how much you trust the police in your country to treat you fairly. We will also be researching the complex, sensitive and all too topical issue of sexual assault and consent in the context of drug and alcohol use. We’ll continue our assessment of dark net drug markets and novel psychoactive drugs and ask the question ‘just how much do you trust the person you get drugs from?’ Finally, we’ll ask whether you’d pay more for fair trade cocaine.

As always, the survey is encrypted, anonymous and confidential and we don’t collect IP addresses. The first time anyone sees the results is when our media partners share them in May 2019.

Experience counts.

Please share yours and take part in the world’s largest drug survey : GDS2019

GDS 2019: If you’re interested in helping the world have honest conversations about drug use, please read on.

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