Global Drug Survey set to cover Indians

• In the United Kingdom, cocaine is often said to be home delivered faster than pizza, and the Germans and French are the least likely to seek medical attention following alcohol use.

• These pointers and more emerged from the 2018 edition of the Global Drug Survey, the largest poll of its kind in the world that surveyed recreational drug use among 1,30,000 people spanning 44 countries.

• The GDS for 2019 will survey, for the first time, consumption trends in alcohol, cannabis and opiates in India.

• The 2019 survey, which will launch in November and be available online until December 30, will investigate drug habits across 35 countries, and its findings will be translated into 20 languages.

• The GDS uses an encrypted, online platform to conduct annual anonymous surveys. No IP addresses are collected and the survey is independent of governments.

Anonymous survey

• The GDS 2019 will probe social issues, including how the police treat people who use drugs, and the complex problem of sexual assault, consent and drug use.

• How cannabis health warning labels might be an important part of drug regulation, how much people trust their person they get drugs from, how much do people in different countries pay for drugs and whether they think they are good value for money are among the questions that the GDS 2019 will investigate.

• A key objective of the survey is to understand how advances in technology are influencing drug use and the complexities this pose in determining the levels of harmful dosage and how those who sought to reduce drug-related harm responded.

• With countries, including Canada, legalising cannabis, the survey attempts to open doors to understanding the therapeutic potential of drugs such as MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), better known as ‘ecstasy,’ and LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide).

Way forward

• Few studies have looked at use of alcohol and illicit drugs and consequences faced by drug users in India.

• A 2004 survey by the Union Ministry of Social Justice on the extent and pattern and trends of drug abuse left out women.

• That study found the prevalence of alcohol use to be 21% and current use of cannabis at 3%. Among the alcohol and cannabis current users, 16% and 25% respectively were dependent.

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Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

Prelims level: Global Drug Survey

Mains level: Lack of awareness related to drugs in India and interventions required to reduce drug abuse

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