Global Drug Survey (GDS) is an independent research organisation based in London. We run the world’s largest drug survey. We use an encrypted online platform to collect anonymous drug use data from across the world. Our mission is to promote honest conversations about drug use and help people use drugs more safely regardless of the legal status of the drug. To date over 900,000 people have taken part in our surveys and we have published over 60 academic papers.

The GDS Special Edition on COVID-19 was developed as part of a global effort to better understand the impact of the pandemic on people’s lives with a specific focus on the use of alcohol and other drugs, mental health and relationships.

The survey ran for 7 weeks (May-June 2020) and was available in 10 languages: Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. The survey received 59,969 valid responses. There were 20 countries where we received 100 or more responses, and 10 countries where we received 1000 or more responses. For ease of reporting and to avoid sub-samples with low numbers, we have included only the top 11 countries listed in order of sample size: Germany, France, Ireland, Brazil, Switzerland, Netherlands, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Australia, Austria, and United States (with only the US falling below N=1000). The total global sample size we report on here (total of these 11 countries) is 55,811.

GDS data is from a non-probability sample and thus our findings are not representative of the wider population. The majority of our participants tend to be young, experienced with the use of illicit drugs, and employed or in education. We have included questions that are relevant to marginalised and vulnerable groups of people who use drugs, yet these groups are largely underrepresented online.

Because we ask the same questions in the same way across different regions, our data can be used to highlight local variations and to explore how different groups are coping with COVID-19 and related restrictions. The data further allow us to identify relationships between different behaviors and outcomes, for example between changes in drug use and mental health. In this report we highlight the most noteworthy findings that followed the completion of Special Edition. If you would like to access further analysis or use our data please contact us at .

We would like to thank INPUD (International Network of People who Use Drugs) for their support in contributing to the funding of this project and all our research and media partners globally. This survey received ethics approval from University College London.