GDS2017: Making drug use safer

Adam Winstock, Monica Barratt, Jason Ferris, Larissa Maier on behalf of Global Drug Survey. A call for participation.

If you are interested in making drug use safer for everyone please read this

Global Drug Survey (GDS)runs the world’s biggest drug survey. Now in its 6th year and with a target of over 150,000, our mission is to make drug use safer regardless of the legal status of the drug. Comprised of a network of researchers, clinicians and harm reduction organisations from over 20 different countries every year we try to broaden the scope and reach of our work. Partnering with some of the biggest global organisations in the world (including the Guardian, Vice, ZEIT ONLINE and Fairfax Media), we focus on those issues that are often ignored by traditional research organisations and government funded centres. Addressing issues such as overdose prevention, blood borne virus, irrational drug policies 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 at identifying 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. This explains the success of sites such as Erowid, Bluelight and Tripsit and Global Drug Survey. 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 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. Since we started in 2010, the world of drugs has changed remarkably. From the rise of darknet markets and the creation of hundreds of new psychoactive drugs to sweeping drug law reforms and growing awareness that drugs like MDMA and LSD can be invaluable therapeutic agents. Good information has never been so important. This year we have changed the structure of the survey so that people can complete a core section in about 20 minutes before being offered a selection of specialist topics that we have chosen to target. From looking at cannabis as medicine in the real world and what form of regulation cannabis users want to see in their country, to the use of vaping devices GDS2017 is boldly going where no drug survey has gone before. We’ll be asking about drug checking, LSD micro-dosing and Ayahausca ceremonies and figuring out how people dose with MDMA for maximum pleasure but minimum harm. As always the survey is anonymous and confidential and the first time anyone sees the results is when our media partners share them in June 2017.

Experience counts. Please share yours!