Hot Press

OUR CHEMICAL ROMANCE

From MDMA and ketamine to cannabis and GHB, the Global Drug Survey 2018 will reveal who’s taking what, where, how often and for how much.

- WORDS: STUART CLARK

Following a landmark year in which the government gave the green light to Ireland’s first medically supervised injecting facility, and indicated a willingnes­s to consider a Portuguese­style decriminal­isation model, Hot Press is delighted to once again be the official Irish partners for the Global Drug Survey 2018.

Running on hotpress.com until mid-January, we’ll be joining the likes of the Huffington Post,

Vice, La Republica, Mixmag and lots more in gathering data from upwards of 200,000 recreation­al drug users.

“There will be special emphasis this year on rising drug purities, and the use of ketamine, GHB and crystal methamphet­amine,” says GDS supremo Dr. Adam Winstock. “We’ll look at drug checking services and how social networks are changing the way we buy drugs. We’ll learn where in the world you can get a gram of cocaine delivered more quickly than a pizza and what drugs are most likely to be shared with your mates.

“GDS will define the perfect MDMA pill, figure out whether alcohol health warning labels are a good thing and we’ll work out the best way to stop for people who want to quit cannabis.”

Hot Press made national headlines last year when it reported on Ireland’s growing chemsex scene where GHB and its close relatives, GBL and 1.4 butanediol, are the drugs of choice.

“One in five users reported passing out on GHB, which is just huge,” Winstock notes.

“The difference between a safe dose and a dangerous one is less than a millilitre. Clearly, GHB is in Ireland but, unlike the UK where it’s been part of the chemsex scene for quite a while, it’s a relatively new phenomenon, which we need to know more about in order to get the harm reduction message out to those most in need of it.”

Dr. Winstock also wants to learn more about our relationsh­ip with alcohol.

“What jumped out of the GDS2017 was the level of binge drinking amongst students,” he notes. “Brazil, Mexico and Holland are the only countries in the world where it’s higher than it is in Ireland. In the UK, there’s a decline in heavy drinking among young people. The GDS statistic from a few years ago is that the average Irish male needed to have nine pints to be as happily drunk as they wanted to be. With the average Irish female, it was a bottle and twothirds of wine. That’s drinking more than your entire weekly recommende­d amount in one go. We need to shift that norm.”

Now in its seventh year, the GDS research is approved by university ethics committees worldwide, and has lead to over 50 peerreview­ed publicatio­ns.

“We’ve also presented to doctors, politician­s, law enforcemen­t and drug agencies who recognise that the GDS deals in hard facts rather than myths,” Dr. Winstock concludes. “It’s 100% anonymous, takes 15-30 minutes to complete and gives a voice to the vast majority of drug users that don’t have addiction issues.”

Take part in the GDS2018 from Monday November 13 at hotpress.com where you’ll

also find a series of accompanyi­ng blogs.

 ??  ?? A chemsex harm reduction pack and (inset) Dr. Adam Winstock
A chemsex harm reduction pack and (inset) Dr. Adam Winstock
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