Which drugs do people take? The Guardian/Mixmag survey is one attempt to explain the facts behind this controversial issue - which sees users claim that more of them use cannabis than energy drinks.

Conducted by Global Drug Survey, we wanted to know which drugs people take, how often and why. The survey of 15,500 people studied a wide range of illict and legal substances, from alcohol and cannabis to cocaine and MDMA - as well as newer drugs such as mephedrone and synthetic cannabis. These are the results.

The answers came from countries around the world, mostly the UK and US. Here are some of the key findings:

  • fifth of young drug users admit to taking "mystery white powders" without any idea what they contain - 15% of overall respondents say they have taken a unknown white powder in the last 12 months, a third admitting its was supplied by someone they didn't trust. But younger drug users were much more likely to take risks with unknown substances, with a fifth of all survey respondents aged between 18 and 25 saying they had taken mystery powders
  • more respondents in the UK and US admitted to taking cannabis than either tobacco or energy drinks
  • Those who defined themselves as clubbers were more likely to take ecstasy than smoke cigarettes
  • 3.5% of those in the UK said they had even taken ecstasy, or MDMA, anually
  • Alcohol is used regularly by almost all drug users, and apart from tobacco, the substance respondents would most like to take less of. Two-thirds of male respondents and 60% of women drank reported drinking at hazardous or harmful levels - though a fifth of regarded their drinking as average or below average levels

This is how we animated the results:

 

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