Ethics, Sharing & Security


Every annual GDS survey receives ethical approval from at least one university. GDS2020 and GDS COVID-19 Special Edition surveys received ethics approval from University College London. An open access paper describing our methodology including limitations can be found here

GDS only ever shares its data for research purposes with its academic network partners. GDS only ever shares de-identified anonymized pooled data. GDS never shares your e-mails. GDS only shares data with partner organisations and individuals who can demonstrate compliance with all of our data security and information sharing protocols. GDS reserves the right to charge for shared data or to decline submitted data requests if they are deemed inconsistent with our aims and principles. For further information, contact the Director of GDS Dr Adam Winstock at


GDS uses anonymous online survey methodology hosted on encrypted servers. We do not collect IP addresses. The GDS annual surveys do not collect personal identification. Those participants who indicate a willingness to take part in future GDS projects may choose to provide their email address. This email address is hosted on a separate encrypted database unconnected to their drug use data