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drugs pills alcoholMore 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

  • UK has highest rate of last year NPS purchase of any GDS country (11.6% of UK sample)
  • GDS2016 reports increase in UK last year purchase of NPS after falling rates over last 4 years
  • Decline in high street NPS purchases from 46.3% in GDS2014 to 34.6% in GDS2016.
  • 58% of those reporting buying NPS last year did so on-line.
  • 3 times more likely end up seeking emergency medical treatment with NPS than traditional drugs

Synthetic Cannabinoids (SCs) and A&E

  • Synthetic cannabinoids more likely to lead to emergency medical treatment than any other drug
  • 1 in 8 of those using weekly or more often reported seeking emergency medical treatment (3.5% of all users)
  • Overall risk of seeking emergency medical treatment when using SCs is 30 times greater than skunk
  • Over half of those using more than 50 times in last year who tried to stop reported withdrawal symptoms

The dark-net rising

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

  • Increase in use of both MDMA and cocaine over the last 3 years.
  • Concerns over high dose MDMA pills leading to increased risk of acute harm
  • 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
  • UK users take more MDMA in a night than anyone else (almost half a gram)
  • Most people use less than 10 times per year
  • Less is more (more fun with less MDMA)

No Laughing Matter

  • Biggest study of nitrous oxide use ever
  • Increasing rates of use in the UK and globally nitrous oxide is now ranked the 7th most popular drug in the world.
  • 10% of users worried about impact of mental / physical health
  • 4% reporting symptoms of nerve damage due to vitamin B12 deficiency


  • 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.
  • Spirits best avoided on night out