Mixmag's annual survey identifies trends in recreational drug use. The Guardian and Global Drug Survey are partners for 2011-12
Why do people take drugs, how often do they take them, and what are the medical, social and legal consequences of their drug use?
Mixmag – the dance music magazine – has been providing robust answers to these questions with its annual drug survey. Largely – though not exclusively – focused on young people, it has identified important trends in the way people consume drugs over the past decade.
The survey detected the use of ketamine as a recreational drug by clubbers long before official agencies picked it up. It was one of the first studies to identify the appearance of mephedrone and, a year later, to document the impact of legislation on its availability and displacement to the illicit drug market.
Last year, it supported the largest study ever of cannabis withdrawal conducted, and uncovered the truth about what happens when you get arrested in possession of drugs in the UK.
Using the anonymised online reports of thousands of people in the UK and the US, it has become a vital tool for policy makers and academics – the "place where the world goes to find out real people's attitudes and experience of drugs."
For 2011-12, the Guardian is partnering with Mixmag and Global Drug Survey to help produce what we hope will be the biggest, most comprehensive survey of its kind in the world.
The results will be published exclusively by Mixmag and the Guardian in March 2012.
We are asking participants a range of questions about their use of specific drugs (amount taken, frequency, quality and how they were used), their experiences if they have been caught with drugs by the authorities; and the consequences of their drug use (medical and social side effects). Drugs covered by the survey include cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis, ketamine, mephedrone, alcohol, tobacco, "legal highs", and prescription medicines such as temazepam, Viagra and opioid painkillers.
This year, the survey will be exploring how synthetic cannabis drugs compare with normal cannabis and the role of the internet in drug distribution.
The survey, which is conducted by Global Drug Survey, is anonymous and takes about 20-25 minutes to complete.
Global Drug Survey is an independent, self-funded data mapping agency founded by Dr Adam Winstock, a consultant addictions psychiatrist in London. The survey has received ethical approval from the joint Institute of Psychiatry and Maudsley trust ethics committee. Global Drug Survey does not receive government funding.