COVID-19 has changed our lives: from travel bans, social and physical isolation and empty cities to workers laid off and governments scrambling to muster effective responses. The impact on people varies widely and differently between countries. Relationships may be placed under new stresses and for those educating children at home, long division will never have seemed so hard! Today, we invite you to take part in the Global Drug Survey Special Edition on COVID-19. We run the world’s largest drug survey and we are here to help. Read on to find out why we are bothering and why we think you should to.
How are you coping with this unprecedented situation? For some people it’s baking, reading, yoga, virtual dance parties, or simply binging with Netflix. For others it’s drinking or using other drugs. For good or bad, disruption to drug markets, and closures of pubs, nightclubs and other social venues means changes to ways and means of how we use alcohol or drugs. We know that access to drugs has been impeded but that alcohol sales are going up in many parts of the globe and while many traditional settings of use have closed, people have found new ways of connecting. Some people may use more alcohol and/or other drugs to replace social connection or manage feelings of anxiety or boredom. For others, reduced access, desire and opportunity to use might lead to a period of not using. Whether, how and in what quantities people choose to use under these new settings remains unclear as does the true extent of variation across and between different parts of the globe. If we had a better understanding of how people adapt to the restrictions related to the global pandemic, we could help provide guidance on what works well for which group and inform future debates on drug policy and public health.
Continuing our mantra of having “honest conversations about alcohol and other drugs” we have created this Global Drug Survey Special Edition on COVID-19 that launches on May 4th, 2020. The survey is available in multiple languages. Participation will take 10-15 minutes if you recently drank alcohol and slightly longer if you also used other drugs. We’ll ask how COVID-19 has impacted your living situation, your relationships and your mental health. We’ll ask whether your use of alcohol and other drugs has changed and with what consequences as well as about how COVID-19 has impacted the drug market in your country and your access to services. Finally, we’ll invite you to join a GDS cohort with short follow-up surveys every 30 days to monitor changes in your drug use as the world adapts to an unknown but hopefully safer future. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself, support those around you and stay safe y’all!
Professor Adam Winstock on behalf of Global Drug Survey