NME Drugs Survey: The full results

Earlier this month, we asked NME readers to tell us about your drug taking habits.

We had a huge response – thousands of you took part in our online survey from across the UK, telling us your views on all things drug related, from legalisation to legal highs.

So why did we do a drug survey? Earlier this month, we reported from the Home Office’s science lab, where each year a team of 10 scientists from the government’s drug identification unit visit UK music festivals collecting drug samples to provide an overview of Britain’s rapidly changing drugs market. The Forensic Early Warning System project, based at the Centre for Applied Science and Technology in St Albans, aims to provide a snapshop of the UK drug scene in the wake of the much-publicised rise of ‘legal highs’ or New Psychoactive Substances, which were linked to the deaths of 52 people in England and Wales in 2001, according to the Centre For Social Justice thinktank. This year, the team visited Glastonbury, Creamfields and Global Gathering and found as many as six substances that had never been identified before. Some of the substances required advanced lab tests to identify them, which chemist Dr Karen Rofe told us could be potentially “very dangerous indeed”.

More recently, the resurgence of the deadly ecstasy-like Class A drug PMA, which was linked to the death of a clubber at Manchester’s Warehouse project has raised fresh concerns about British drug-taking habits.

But with all the current media fanfare around drugs and the huge increase in legal highs coming onto the market, we decided to see what you, our readers, thought about this.

You can read the results in full below:

Firstly, we asked you about your recent drug taking habits. Some 74% of you said that you have taken drugs in the last 12 months.

The drugs included:
Cannabis 41.7%
Cocaine 3.7%
MDMA / Ecstasy 21.6%
Mephedrone 1.1%
“Legal Highs” 2.6%
Other 2.8%
Not Sure 0.8%

We then asked you about legal highs. Some two in five of you have tried legal highs at some point. And 53.8% think that legal highs shouldn’t be banned in the UK.

When we pressed you on your views on the debate around legalizing drugs, we fund that 54.5% of you think drugs should be legalised.

The majority of you who have tried drugs did so for the first time when you were teenagers. Half of you were aged either 15 or 16 when you first took drugs. One quarter of you were aged 17 or 18.

The first drugs you tried were:
Cannabis 77.5%
Cocaine 3.2%
MDMA/ Ecstasy 9.1%
Mephedrone 1.2%
Legal highs 1.6%
Other 5%
Not sure 2.3%

When we asked you how often you take drugs, 14.4% of you said you take drugs more than once a week, 9.1% once a week, 10.5% more than once a month, 11% once a month, 16.8% every couple of months, and 16.7% once or twice a year. Meanwhile, 21.6% of you never take drugs.

We then asked you about where you take drugs. 28.2% of you always take drugs at music festivals, while 30.4% of you never do. Some 5% of you told us you always take drugs at gigs, 13.1% of you do at most gigs, 37.3% of you sometimes do and 44.6% of you never do.

When asked when where you were when you last took drugs, nearly a quarter (22.2%) of you were at a friends house and nearly a fifth (20.5%) of you were in your own house. The next most popular results were at a music festival (13.8%), at a party (13.4%), at a club (9.5%), at a gig (5%), in a pub (3.6%) or at school, college or work (1.1%).

44.3% of you said the type of music you are listening to makes you more likely to take drugs. Unsurprisingly, 50% of you said you were more likely to take drugs when listening to dance music. Some 28.8% said listening to indie or rock music made you more likely to take drugs. As an aside, 40.1% of you said that musicians who take drugs make better music.

Two thirds of you (66.1%) do take notice of warnings about the dangers of taking drugs, while 43.7% of you said the reported deaths of people taking drugs at festivals and gigs makes you less likely to take drugs. However, 37.5% said reportes of deaths didn’t make any difference to your own drug taking habits, while 18.8% of you hadn’t thought about it.

Most of you thought you had your drug use under control – only 6.2% of you said you were worried about it.

Finally, we asked if you think you take more drugs than your parents did. 54.5% of you said yes.

Some 5,295 of you took part in the survey. The gender split of the results was 62.9% male, 37.1 % female. Most (55.6%) of respondees were in full-time education, 31.7% in full time work, 6.2% in part time work, 4% unemployed and 2.5% other. Age-wise, most of you (55.5%) were aged between 18 – 24, 20.1% were under 18, and 18.3% were between 25 and 35. 10.7% were over 35.