The Global Drugs Survey 2017, which researched the drug-taking habits of 120,000 people across 50 countries, found that our neighbours in the UK are amongst the worst nations for A&E attendance due to recreational drug use.
The study, which spoke to 500 people in Ireland and 5,900 in the UK, found that availability of cocaine and MDMA of greater purity was driving this rise. Since 2015, the study found there had been a 50% increase in cocaine users being admitted to A&E.
Methamphetamine was found to be the most dangerous recreational drug, with 4.8% of respondents who had taken it requiring emergency medical treatment, compared to alcohol (1.3%), MDMA/Ecstasy (1.2%) and amphetamine (1.1%).
Magic mushrooms were the safest drugs to take in terms of needing to see emergency medical treatment according to the survey with the rate considerably lower than with LSD.
This increased likelihood of arriving in A&E is partly being driven where drug- users are sourcing their drugs.
1 in 4 (25%) of those who had used drugs in the past year had bought their drugs from the darknet, where dealers are anonymous, their I.P addresses are masked and payment is received in Bitcoin. MDMA is the drug most bought globally on the darknet, with 49% of those having used the drug having bought it on the darknet.
Whilst the report highlights the issues caused by newer and purer drugs, it is clear the use of more traditional drugs is still a cause for concern. The study found that 85% of the world’s cannabis smokers still do so with tobacco, compared to just 5% who use a cannabis pipe. 77% of UK cannabis smokers smoke with tobacco, with Italians (94%) and Greeks (93%) most likely to combine the two.
Dr. Adam Linstock, Author of the Global Drugs Survey said:
‘This year’s study shows that increased drug purity is leading to a surge in admissions to A&E departments across the UK. We need to educate users about purity levels and the impact that they have on the bodies.
“Another concerning development is the UK appears to lead the world in the rise of purchasing drugs on the darknet. The darknet allows dealers to be anonymous, taking away all accountability and it is a concern that the UK currently is outpacing much of the world in its rush to buy drugs this way.
“We want to promote honest conversations about drugs, we want the nightlife industry to be able to share advise with their customers to champion inform decisions. The government will seek to criminalise and change legislation, but that can take years. It is far easy to change the conversation than the law and having open and honest conversations around the drug-taking in the UK will save lives.’
You can read the survey by clicking here