Global Drug Survey – the 2018 Results


In May 2018, the Global Drug Survey results for the ongoing year were published. This was the seventh cycle of carrying out the Global Drug Survey, and for us it is especially interesting as this time a special emphasis on the Balkan region was put, largely thanks to the Balkan group which took care to promote more intensely the survey. Usually, the Global Drug Survey does not follow the practice of carrying out state- or region-focused analyses. All the detailed reports so far relate to the general situation worldwide.
The Global Drug Survey’s seventh cycle implementation began in November 2017 and continued in 2018. This survey has been filled in by 130,000 respondents in 44 countries, of whom around 2,000 respondents are from the Balkans. Of those 2000 respondents, 38.2% are women, which is more than the global figure with 34.2% female respondents. According to the age median, 58.8% of the respondents from the Balkans are younger than 25, while globally 53.3% of the respondents fall below this age limit.

Based on the survey’s results, one can notice that there is no big difference in the drug use practices in the Balkans and worldwide. Thus, 45% of the Balkan respondents and 43% of the respondents worldwide declared they use illegal drugs every month. 2% of the respondents in both the Balkans and worldwide declared that they have injected themselves with drugs at least once in their lifetime.
Based on the data pertaining specifically to the Balkans, one can notice that people from those areas most often have experience with alcohol (98.7% of the respondents), followed by tobacco (58.8% of the respondents). Experience with cannabis comes third in line with 53.8%. Among the more popular drugs are also: MDMA (31.8%), cocaine (25.8%), LSD (18.2%), hallucinogenic mushrooms (17.6%). Of the respondents from the Balkans covered by the Global survey, 4.2% have had heroin-related experience.
The survey revealed that during the year preceding the study, 0.9% of the respondents worldwide sought emergency medical services due to use of alcohol, while 0.6% of the respondents sought emergency services due to use of cannabis, and the same percentage of all respondents did so due to use of MDMA.
It is note-worthy that the tendency in using new psychoactive substances in the Balkans (4.3%) is still significantly less than in Western and Central Europe countries. However, we should take in consideration that due to restrictive drug policies, tendencies in using new psychoactive substances spread easily, and drugs policies in the Balkan states make an especially fertile ground for that.

We presented only a small part of the findings from the Global Drug Survey in this article. For more data on 2018 or previous years, please visit the internet page:

Vanja Dimitrievski

The author works as a Human Resources Manager at HOPS – Healthy Options Project Skopje. He has a Master’s degree in Ethnology and Anthropology and has years-long research experience with various socially marginalized groups/communities, particularly people who use drugs.

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