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The Global Drug Survey 2016 findings

More people shopping on the dark net, more people using MDMA & experiencing harm, synthetic cannabinoids the most dangerous drugs in the world.

Excluding alcohol, tobacco and caffeine products the top 10 drugs used across the world were

Cannabis / MDMA / Cocaine / Amphetamines / LSD / Magic mushrooms / Prescribed / non prescribed opioid medications / Nitrous Oxide / Ketamine / Poppers

Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) Trends in the UK – most people buy NPS online

  1. UK has highest rate of last year NPS purchase of any GDS country (11.6% of UK sample)

  2. GDS2016 reports increase in UK last year purchase of NPS after falling rates over last 4 years

  3. Decline in high street NPS purchases from 46.3% in GDS2014 to 34.6% in GDS2016.

  4. 58% of those reporting buying NPS last year did so on-line.

  5. 3 times more likely end up seeking emergency medical treatment with NPS than traditional drugs

Synthetic Cannabinoids (SCs) and A&E

  1. Synthetic cannabinoids more likely to lead to emergency medical treatment than any other drug

  2. 1 in 8 of those using weekly or more often reported seeking emergency medical treatment (3.5% of all users)

  3. Overall risk of seeking emergency medical treatment when using SCs is 30 times greater than skunk

  4. Over half of those using more than 50 times in last year who tried to stop reported withdrawal symptoms

The dark-net rising

  1. Globally almost in 1 in 10 participants (9.3%) reported ever buying drugs off the dark-net with those reporting last year dark-net purchase rising from 4.5% to 6.7%.

  2. MDMA, cannabis, new or novel substances (including 2C-B and DMT) and LSD are the drugs most commonly bought

  3. 5% of respondents stated that they did not consume drugs prior to accessing them through dark-net markets

The worst time to be using MDMA in a generation

  1. Increase in use of both MDMA and cocaine over the last 3 years.

  2. Concerns over high dose MDMA pills leading to increased risk of acute harm

  3. 4-fold increase in British female clubbers seeking emergency medical treatment in last 3 years. Women 2-3 more likely to seek emergency treatment than men

  4. UK users take more MDMA in a night than anyone else (almost half a gram)

  5. Most people use less than 10 times per year

  6. Less is more (more fun with less MDMA)

No Laughing Matter

  1. Biggest study of nitrous oxide use ever

  2. Increasing rates of use in the UK and globally nitrous oxide is now ranked the 7th most popular drug in the world.

  3. 10% of users worried about impact of mental / physical health

  4. 4% reporting symptoms of nerve damage due to vitamin B12 deficiency


  1. One third of drinkers would like to drink less in the coming year yet only 10% on average would like help to do so. and might help people drink less.

  2. Spirits best avoided on night out


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