Of the 17 countries surveyed in the Global Drugs Survey, Ireland has the most expensive cannabis. And Irish drug users pay very high prices too for cocaine and MDMA.
Conducted for the first time this year in Ireland, with the support of Hot Press, the 2014 Global Drug Survey reveals not only who’s taking what and how, but also suggests that the Government may be out of sync with the Gardaí when it comes to blanket prohibition.
The new issue of Hot Press – out tomorrow – contains the exclusive findings of the 2014 Global Drug Survey, with HP joining the likes of The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The Australian and La Liberacion in getting over 78,000 people worldwide to reveal their recreational drug-taking habits. It is an issue of Hot Press that should be read by anyone with an interest in youth culture, in drug use and abuse, in the law and in the kind of policies that might improve our understanding of how to understand and respond to the use of narcotics.
“Forming drugs policy without knowing why, how often, to what end and at what cost illegal drugs users consume their psychoactive substance of choice is like trying to fish without a rod or a net,” Hot Press editor Niall Stokes comments. “You can dive in and flounder around all you want chasing fish, but the vast majority will slip through your fingers. Which is why our participation in the Global Drugs Survey is potentially so important. The message that comes through from the survey is very clear: Ireland would be better to legalise drugs, beginning with cannabis. Apart from taking the market out of criminal hands, the figures suggest that we might even see a reduction in the volume of drugs that are consumed by Irish citizens and Irish residents.”
Among the headline findings reported in Hot Press, out tomorrow, are:
* Of the Irish people stopped and found to be in possession of a small amount of cannabis, only 17% reported that they’d ended up going to court.
* At €25 per gram Ireland has the most expensive cannabis in the world.
* It’s also Ireland’s illegal drug of choice with 59.4% of respondents using it over the past year.
* 45.2% used MDMA/ecstasy – one of the highest figures in the world.
* Head shop products outlawed in 2010 by Mary Harney have been assimilated into the preexisting illegal drug trade.
* 48% of respondents say they’d be more comfortable seeking medical advice if drugs were legalised.
* Among those who haven’t taken drugs over the past 12 months, 50% say legalisation wouldn’t encourage them to start using again.
* 41% say their illicit drug use would decrease if a new, safer, government-approved drug came on to the market here.
* A prime concern among users is the purity and safety of drugs – both of which they’re prepared to pay a premium for.
* One in 25 drug users has experienced violence whilst buying drugs.
In general, drug prices are high in Ireland, with premium rates being applied also for MDMA and cocaine.
These are just a smattering of the headline facts in what is a hugely fascinating insight into the attitudes, experiences and preferences of people in Ireland who use illegal drugs.
The new issue of Hot Press also contains interviews with musicians, writers, doctors, dealers, criminologists and harm reduction experts, about illegal drugs and their impact on society. And Anne Sexton writes about sex and drugs.
The new issue of Hot Press has Damon Albarn (who talks about Noel Gallagher, kids, magic, heroin and visiting North Korea, among much else) on the front cover – and is out tomorrow.
The Global Drugs Survey was designed by Dr Adam Winstock, a consultant addictions psychiatrist in London, and director of Global Drug Survey. It received ethics approval from the joint South London and Maudsley NHS and Institute of Psychiatry Ethics Committee. Global Drug Survey does not receive government funding. You can find out more about the The Global Drug Survey drugsmeter - an internet-based tool and app - which enables drug users to compare their drug use against that of other people who drink and take drugs here and about the drinks meter - an anonymous web and smartphone app here . You can read more about Global Drug Survey's research methods here
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