The annual Global Drug Survey (GDS) was released recently, showing that little more than 60 percent of drug users from New Zealand acquired narcotics from the dark web in the past year.

The London-based independent research company produces reports from global media, public health, and for corporate organizations. With the GDS’ annual reports, the company seeks to present data, which will create digital health applications delivering screening and brief interventions for narcotics and alcohol. The Global Drug Survey states that their mission is to aim to make drug use safer regardless of the legal status of the drug, “by sharing information with individuals, communities, health and policy organizations”. In their 2017 report, A total of 119,846 people from over 50 countries participated in the survey. According to the GDS, they had used the data of 115,523 persons in the preparation of the reports. From New Zealand, the number of respondents was 3,800 persons. The Global Drug Survey always collects the data from drug and alcohol users in an anonymous manner.

Internationally, the top drug of choice was alcohol with 94.1 percent of the respondents using the substance last year. It was followed by cannabis (60 percent), tobacco (47.6 percent), caffeinated energy drinks (42.8 percent), cannabis with tobacco (38.3 percent), cocaine (19.1 percent), MDMA (19 percent). Amphetamine was also popular among the respondents with 12.2 percent closely followed by LSD with 11.4 percent.

To the question whether the participants smoked a joint within one hour of waking, 9.7 percent of New Zealanders answered with yes. The drug survey also shows that respondents from New Zealand prefer straight cannabis, only 23 percent use tobacco with the drug. 25.8 percent of the New Zealanders aimed to use less cannabis the next year, while 7.8 percent of them would like to seek help (from professionals, friends, family, etc.).

New Zealand alcohol users are also keen to kick their drinking habits, 36.9 percent said they wanted to drink less next year with 12.4 percent of the users saying they wanted help to cut down their drinking habit.

The most surprising data from the survey was related to the use of dark net markets. According to the Global Drug Survey, more than 60 percent (2,316 from the 3,800 respondents) obtained their drugs from the dark side of the internet last year. This percentage was also high among respondents from other countries too, including 20,298 of 36,000 (56.38 percent) from Germany and 5,655 of 10,100 (55.99 percent) from the United States.

Additionally, New Zealand ranked the second (50 percent) after Columbia (74 percent) regarding countries that are most likely to pick their own hallucinogenic mushrooms. Magic mushrooms ranked as the least dangerous drug with only 0.2 percent of the users seeking emergency medical help (EMT) last year. On the other hand, methamphetamine was reported as the most dangerous substance, with 4.8 percent of the respondents stating that they sought EMT last year. The GDS added that there were much higher rates for women seeking emergency medical help than men.

The Global Drug Survey also asked the participants to answer questions regarding the use of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), which are sometimes called as “legal highs” or “research chemicals”. Internationally, according to the GDS, there seems to be a shift away from herbal smoking mixtures (synthetic cannabinoids) with an increase in powders and liquids. For example, the Netherlands is ranking the second on the list (after the United States with 13.3 percent) with 12.8 percent of the country’s respondents purchasing NPS in the last year, however, since marijuana is legal in the country, the use of synthetic cannabinoids is really low. Among the participants, New Zealanders were almost at the end of the list with 1.6 percent of them purchasing New Psychoactive Substances in the last year.

The drug survey showed that New Zealand cocaine users used the substance 7.3 days on average within the last year, relatively low compared to highest use rate, which is 32.3 days in Brazil. However, just over a fifth of cocaine users in New Zealand seek to use less of the drug in the next year.

Worldwide, the average age of participants was 29.1. 78,592 of the respondents (68 percent) were male, while 36,931 (32 percent) were female.