Addiction experts call on Scots to participate in global drug survey

Campaigners say global survey could grant unique insight into drug use in Scotland

CLINICAL EXPERTS from Scotland and the international community are calling on people in Scotland to take part in this year’s Global Drug Survey (GDS).

The Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF) has supported the project by GDS stating that it could improve their understanding of drug use in Scotland.

Chaired by Dr Adam R Winstock, an internationally known expert on addiction, GDS runs the biggest survey of drug and alcohol use in the world, with over 100,000 people completing each of the surveys in 2015 and 2016.

“The fact that people do not engage with services does not mean that their drug use is necessarily harm-free to themselves and others.” David Liddell

Commenting on this year’s survey and its aims, SDF CEO, David Liddell said: “The Global Drug Survey is a useful tool in gaining some insight into what is a poorly understood phenomenon – drug use by people who may never feel the need to engage with health or treatment services.

“The fact that people do not engage with services does not mean that their drug use is necessarily harm-free to themselves and others. The survey also throws up some interesting information on users’ knowledge and perceptions which are useful in framing key messages to drug users in terms of reducing harm.

The survey itself will ask additional questions such as: ‘How do cannabis users think cannabis laws should be changed and where laws have changed how has this impacted on stigma and help seeking?’ Both SDF and GDS will be paying close attention to the effect of governmental laws and the potential of decriminalisation on rehabilitation and harm rates.

According to the national records office, there were 706 drug-related deaths in 2015, representing a 15 per cent rise from 2014. This was the highest number recorded since the series of figures began in 1996, and was 110 per cent more than those recorded  in 2005.

Liddell added: “We commend the GDS and promote participation so that we can have as high-quality information as possible about what is happening in terms of drug use in Scotland.”

Picture courtesy of Konstantin Lazorkin

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