Global Drug Survey Special Edition on COVID-19

14 May 2020

Update: The GDS Special Edition on COVID-19 is still recruiting with over 55,000 people participating to date.  An interim report is now available. As one of the core GDS team, Associate Professor Jason Ferris has provided a slide deck of the Australian data drawn from the GDS Special Edition on COVID 19 Interim Report. The final report is due in July, 2020.

Download the interim report

The Global Drug Survey (GDS), led by Professor Adam Winstock, is the largest online global survey of people who use drugs. CHSR staff members Associate Professor Jason Ferris (a core research team member of GDS) and Dr Cheneal Puljevic form part of a large international collaboration of esteemed researchers using GDS data. In May 2020, GDS launched a special survey to capture the impact of COVID-19 on people who use drugs. Participants from around the world are invited to take part in the Global Drug Survey Special Edition on COVID-19 (currently in 9 languages).

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 other drugs. We know that access to illicit drugs has been impeded while alcohol sales are going up in many parts of the globe.  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 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.

The team from CHSR’s Substance Use and Mental Health Unit are proud to be supporting Professor Adam Winstock and the Global Drug Survey in these unusual times.