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The 2011

The 2011 Mixmag Drugs Survey is the biggest ever survey of drug use among real clubbers. The survey was undertaken over a period of six weeks, and the results analysed by a team led by Dr Adam Winstock from King’s College London and the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. Mixmag and Dr Winstock would like to thank the thousands of you who took part: your responses have helped find out the real truth about drug use. Turn the page to discover the results MARCH 2011 [[1R]]

WHO TOOK THE SURVEY? Some basic info on this year’s respondents Sexual orientation


● 89% Heterosexual ● 7% Bisexual ● 4% Homosexual

● 31% Parent ● 10% Alone ● 28% Friends ● 6% Other ● 25% Partner



99.6% 75%

Ecstasy (pills or powder)


Tobacco in cigarettes





Personal details Average age Most common age


Three-quarters were aged between 18y


Musical preference ● 20% House ● 16% Drum ’n’ bass ● 12% Hard house ● 12% Techno ● 10% Trance ● 9% Dubstep ● 9% Electro ● 12% Other

How often do you go clubbing? 40% One or more times/week 20% Less than once every 4 weeks 18% Less than monthly

Most common venue ● 85% licensed venue ● 12% underground event ● 3% other

Ecstasy is the most used illegal drug in the past year: 75% of respondents had used pills or powder in the past 12 months. More have used alcohol or ecstasy in the past year than have smoked cigarettes



















Mushrooms 64%








4.1 %






2.4 %

Benzo fury











1.4 %





9.9% 4.4% 11.8% 5.6% 2.7%

3.6% 5.2% 3.7%

Amphetamine (speed)




Isopropyl nitrite (poppers)




Nitrous (balloons)

Amphetamine (base) 56%


Amphetamine (base)










Amphetamine (speed)

Age range


Benzodiazepines (Valium etc.)


25y 20y


Nitrous (balloons)


82.7% 51%


Tobacco in cigarettes




Alcohol Ecstasy (pills or powder)


Isopropyl nitrite (poppers)

69% 31% Male

Living with

drug use in drug the last year use ever


More respondents have tried ecstasy than any other illegal drug. 10% have tried smoking crack and 5% have tried heroin. 18% have tried Viagra

Steroids Heroin Methamphetamine MARCH 2011 [[2R]]

Mephedrone: after the ban where DO you get your mephedrone?

Most common source: Ease of access/ availability

● 38% Friend ● 24% Dealer ● 33% Website ● 5% Headshop

75% £12.20 4.5 Easy/very easy

Average price

(typical £10)

average number of days used in a month

after the ban: ANDY STEWARD

61% of respondents had tried mephedrone (compared to 42% last year) 51% had used it in the last 12 months (compared to 37.3%) 25% had used it in the last month (33.6%) Mephedrone was banned on April 16 2010. 75% of people who have ever tried it said they had used it since the ban. 56% said their use had decreased or stopped, 33% said the ban had no effect and 10% said their use had increased. 30% said that they had taken more ecstasy since the ban on meph. 19% said they had taken more cocaine

before the ban:

● 41% Friend ● 58% Dealer ● 1% Website/headshop

38% £19.30 2.7 Easy/very easy

(typical £20)

what did you think of the purity?

● 60% Excellent ● 8% Fair ● 30% Good ● 2% Poor

did you suspect it was was cut with something?



● 7% Excellent ● 36% Fair ● 32% Good ● 25% Poor




How one journalist, with a little help from Google, kicked off last year’s mephedrone madness. Oops... It was late 2007 when I first heard of a new legal drug that users said was like a mixture of ecstasy and cocaine. I didn’t pay it much attention at first, thinking it was just a fad, but as time went on it seemed from online reports that this new drug worked, but no one knew what it was: not the thousands of people enthusiastically shovelling the fishy-smelling white powders up their nose, nor the nurses helping the gurning nutters who’d done too much. I was on a bulletin board looking for stories when I saw mention of two new legal products that users were raving about. Well, they weren’t strictly raving. These were drug geeks sat at home caning a new legal high, known then as NeoDoves and Subcoca, sold by Israeli firm Neorganics. They were rhapsodising about them all over the net – if you knew where to look. The contents of these white capsules, sold as health supplements, were a mystery. I spent days and nights lurking about the net’s darker corners trying to discover their ingredients. Not because I wanted to get high – I might be a 40-year-old acid house veteran but I wasn’t ready to start snorting mystery powders from foreign websites (like skinny jeans, primary colours and moustaches, that’s a young man’s game). I wanted to know because if I found out, I’d

have a major news story to break. Here was a drug that was like a mix of ecstasy and cocaine, that was legal, and that was about to kick off, big time. I especially wanted to learn about and make public the health dangers. I also wanted the exclusive, and I got it. But be careful what you wish for... The capsules contained, among other things, 4-methyl methcathinone, an inbred stepchild of MDMA. For this information the hat must be tipped to John Ramsey, a brilliant toxicologist at St George’s Hospital in London, and phase_dancer, an Australian poster on the Bluelight forums, who after painstaking research with his harm reduction group posted analysis of the capsules online. I called a contact at specialist magazine Drugscope and offered to write about this new drug. The sharp-eyed editor there, Max Daly, jumped at it, and it was game on. The day the piece was publshed in Drugscope, the Guardian and The Telegraph picked my piece up and ran their own stories on my findings. But unbeknown to the editors of these newspapers, or to me, the clever ‘plant food’ vendors had signed up to Google Adwords. And the Guardian and The Telegraph were being paid by Google to use Adsense, which picks up keywords from news reports and matches them with

advertisers’ keywords, and generates ads linking the two together. So every news report that resulted from my story had an ad at the bottom telling readers exactly where to get it! Production snowballed. Once the chemical name, 4-methyl methcathinone, was in the public domain anyone could mail a lab and get it made. Within weeks, Chinese labs were synthesising hundreds of kilos a month and sending it all over the world. Websites sprang up overnight, flogging the stuff as plant food in order to avoid the UK’s food and drug laws. Within weeks, the moral panic was in full flow, The Sun was onto it and it was being used on every high street in the land – and if you believed the papers, in every school, too. Until the ban in April 2009, it was a narcotic free-for-all. Now the comedown’s hit, and it’s hit hard. Meph is still available on the streets, but prices are up and quality is down. And you can get nicked for it. Before mephedrone, I would normally have followed that last sentence with a criticism of existing drug laws, which I feel are as ineffective as they are hypocritical. But after seeing what happened when meph was legal, I have to wonder: what would happen if there were no drug laws at all? mike power MARCH 2011 [[2R]]

Ecstasy &cocaine

75% of respondents had taken ecstasy in the last 12 months (compared to 80% last year). Cocaine use in the last 12 months was also down to 62.7%, from 83.1% last year



of respondents said they always drink alcohol when taking ecstasy


say they never drink alcohol when they take ecstasy


Mixing E with cocaine:


say they have never taken cocaine when taking ecstasy


say they always take cocaine when they take ecstasy

Respondents who think the quality of pills has gone up Respondents who think the quality of pills has gone down



thought it was the same



of MDMA has gone up ● 31% think it has gone down ● 31% say it’s the same ● 23% did not know


take 10 or more


have taken more than 10 pills in a session


have taken 20 or more pills in one session Price and purchase


is the most typical price for a pill. Most people buy 10 pills at a time

average price


is the average price paid for a gram



● 14% think the quality

of you take 2–3 pills


is the most common price of a gram

typically take 1 pill



of respondents prefer MDMA powder to pills

(average is 4 pills a session)




Usual number of pills taken in a session

of you take 4–5 pills Mixing E with alcohol:


of respondents usually buy 1gm at a time

Usual amount taken in a session

Mixing it with alcohol



usually take ½ gm or less

29% 45% 4.5%

usually take 1gm

have taken 3 or more grams in one session

drink alcohol nearly every time they take cocaine

never drink when doing coke


you get what you pay for...



have been offered a pill at a higher price with the promise it was much better

have been offered higher price coke withthepromiseit was much better

Usual ‘higher’ price

Usual ‘higher’ price

bought it, and of those

bought it, and of those

thought it was much better

thought it was much better

£10 £50–£60 69% 66% 78% 77%

have taken cocaine for 4 or more days in a row

Usual amount taken in a session Repondents typically took

1/2gm in a session

40% 1/4gm use

or less in a session

Price and purchase


is the average price of a gram of MDMA. The most common price is


The usual purchase is a gram at a time, which usually gives you 8-10 doses


How the type and amount of drugs respondents used in the last 12 months varies with age 18–20 yr olds

21–30 yr olds

30+ yr olds





Ecstasy (pills or powder)
















Nitrous (balloons)




Amphetamine (speed)








Isopropyl nitrite (poppers)











9% MARCH 2011 [[2R]]

never can say goodbye

ketamine & cannAbis

The biggest survey of cannabis withdrawal symptoms ever

What symptoms did you experience? 53% Irritability


of respondents used ketamine in the last month


is the typical price paid per gram

25% 3g have taken


of users have sought medical help for urinary problems


have have sought help for abdominal problems


found their symptoms stopped when they stopped taking ketamine

Cannabis types of Cannabis used in the past 12 months

54% Low mood

50% 66%

have smoked every day for at least 2 weeks and

of respondents buy their own

51% 30% £10 48.6% 34% 23% 55%

the typical price is


Normal grass


have smoked every day for more than 3 months in the last year

of respondents drink alcohol nearly every time they smoke cannabis

Nausea and vomiting More frequent urination Abdominal pain Burning/stinging when urinating ‘K cramps’ (severe cramps) Leakage of urine/incontinence Blood in urine

18% 17% 16% 8% 8% 3.5% 1.5%

53% Sleep difficulties

per gram

50% restlessness

have smoked more than 3g in a single session

or more in one session

Side-effects experienced by people who have used ketamine in the last year:

50% nervousness

22% 48.5% 40% 8%

30% Anger 30% Reduced appetite/ weight loss

19% Sweating

Typical amount of cannabis smoked in a day:

50mg (1/20th gram) ½ gm or less 1–2 gm More than 3gm

Mixmag’s expert, Dr Adam Winstock, explains what’s going on Cherie, 30, London

Two thirds of the cannabis smokers in our survey had tried to quit or been forced to go without in the last year. 90% stopped suddenly, and at the time of quitting average use was a quarter or more per week. We asked respondents if they had experienced withdrawal symptoms after trying to cut down or stop their use of cannabis

Ketamine use has fallen since last year, from 50.7% of respondents using it in the last 12 months to 41.2%. Cannabis use is also down, from 70% last year to 65%


Cannabis withdrawal

17% chills 15% Stomach pains

26% Headache 23% shakiness

Your body adapts when you take a drug every day. Often these changes lead to tolerance: getting less stoned than you used to, or needing to smoke more to get the same effect. These changes are ‘useful’ as long as you’re smoking every day. When you stop you experience withdrawal: a time-limited group of symptoms as the body tries to return to normal. About 75% of cannabisdependent people get some symptoms when they quit. Normally they peak after two days; most are over in 7–10 days (sleep problems, odd dreams and irritability can carry on for a few weeks). If you feel anxious without a spliff first thing in the morning it’s probably nicotine withdrawal, which starts less than an hour after your last cigarette; cannabis withdrawal only really begins after 24hrs.

Alex, 28, London

Not long after I finished uni I decided to give up a weed habit of an eighth a week. How hard could it be? Firstly there was what to do with my spare time. For five years I’d just been stoned on a sofa. Now, gazing into space no longer satisfied me. I decided to take up cooking. I’d come home from work, start making dinner, and afterwards I’d cook myself lunch for the next day. At about midnight, I’d start on the cleaning up. I found I had no mechanism for stress relief. I kept thinking I needed a fag whenever I got stressed, but tobacco wasn’t cutting it. I relapsed every couple of months for about a year.

I’ve smoked cannabis pretty much every day since I was at university. Until last year I was limiting myself to a £20 draw of skunk a week but since I’ve started smoking Thai I’ll smoke more. Without it I can’t sleep. When I’ve tried to cut down I’ve been irritable, restless and prone to mood swings, or had intense headaches. I’ve also found myself drinking alcohol (something I don’t do very often) to compensate and aid me in getting to the land of nod. Cannabis has proved mentally addictive. I’ve come to rely on it and I can’t imagine living a weed-free life. The thought of not being able to have a spliff at the end of the day creates anxiety in itself!

Carl, 32, Glasgow

I started smoking dope (mostly hash) in my midteens, and used to sell a bit to fund my habit. When I moved to study I continued to smoke regularly, but after graduating and getting a job I decided I needed to cut right down. Stopping had a profound effect on my sleep. I couldn’t sleep for long periods of time, and when I did I’d find myself waking up every 2–3 hours. Sometimes I could get back to sleep straight away, other times I was awake for a hours. Often I would wake up covered in sweat. The vest I would wear, my pillow and the area where I had been sleeping were soaking. And then there were the dreams, nightmares incorporating anything from current life situations to bad memories from school. It took about a year to get back to normal sleep patterns. MARCH 2011 [[2R]]

54% of respondents had concerns about at least 1 of their friends’ drug or alcohol use; a third of those were worried about 3 or more friends. 80% have talked to other friends of their mate about their concerns, and 73% have talked to them directly. Mephedrone is the drug that caused most concern which substances cause you the most concern in your mates Mephedrone Alcohol Cocaine Ketamine Cannabis Heroin Speed Other substances

Of all the substances you have used in last 12 months, what would you like to use less of, or get help with?

24% 18% 16% 16% 12% 3% 1.5% 1%

Tobacco Alcohol Cocaine Cannabis Ketamine Mephedrone Ecstasy Nothing

50% 28% 19% 19% 19% 19% 11% 21%

Most common substance to cause worry

23% 7% 6% 6% 5% 4% <2% 45% Like to use less of

Hospital admission: 25%

© DrAdam Winstock and Dr Luke Mitcheson, 2011

[[1L]] MARCH 2011

1) Firstly, remember that how you feel about your mates and what they are doing to themselves and others through their use of drugs or alcohol can influence what you say and how you say it. Being angry, judgmental or derogatory is unlikely to help them to listen to you or take your concerns seriously. 2) If they are spotted early, problems with drugs are often easy to address just by pulling

back, slowing down or taking a break. Trying to change things when someone is depressed, ill or dependent on a drug is harder, so the earlier you help your friend think about change the easier it will be for them to make it. 3) Make sure you’re informed about the drug before you say anything. 4) Don’t raise your concerns in the middle of session or a night out. Pick a time when you are both straight, are somewhere without distraction, are in

control of your mood and other faculties and have enough time for a conversation. 5) Don’t start the conversation in a crowded place or in a big group of friends; it’s too easy to deflect the issue on to others, or for your friend to feel they are being picked on. 6) Start by being positive about your friend: their qualities, the reason you’re mates, your history; maybe how they have looked out for you in the past. 7) Express that you are

worried but you are not sure if you need to be. Make sure you focus on specific behaviours or actions rather than making general statements about the person and their faults. For example reflect back a recent event or series of events that made you worried and ask for their view. 8) Don’t get into arguments about who uses more drugs. Everyone is different: some people run into problems earlier or more easily than others.

Don’t expect change to occur overnight, and if they get angry leave it and come back to it another time. 9) Lead by example. If you are regular drugusing friend you might want to offer to share a period of reduced use to support them. 10) End your chat by saying thank you. Tell them you only brought it up because you care, and that you can see it might not have been easy to hear. Offer to help and support them in any way you can.

Caught with cannabis last year: 12.5%

75% had an eighth or less on them. 5% had more than ½ oz

Let off with a telling off: 36% Got a caution/ warning: 51% Arrested and charged:12%

58% were in a public area, for instance a park, car park or on the street

Caught with ecstasy: 3.0%

11% had 1 pill (20% had 1 or 2), 58% had 5 or fewer, 33% had 5–10 pills and 10% had 50+

Let off with a telling off: 35% Got a caution/ warning: 40% Arrested and charged: 25%

66% were at a festival, at a club or outside an entertainment venue

Caught with cocaine: 1.7%

69% were caught with 1 gram or less

Let off with a telling off: 35% Got a caution/ warning in 44% Arrested and charged: 20%

66% were in a pub, club, entertainment venue or festival

Let off with a telling off: 50% Got a caution/ warning: 35% Arrested and charged: 15%

50% were at a festival, club or outside an entertainment venue

Help from venue/club staff: 15% Only 43% were given drug advice after treatment

What was wrong: (1) Collapse (2) Chest pain (3) Palpitations

(4) Severe nausea (5) Paranoia (6) Panic

What was the impact on your drug/alcohol use?

33% 10%

of you stopped using

changed the combination of substances used


made no change

Alcohol Tobacco E pills/powder Ketamine Cannabis Mephedrone Cocaine GBL/GBH Speed Mushrooms LSD Methylone

Caught with 60% had 1 gram or mephedrone: less on them 1.1%


What respondents had been using just before needing medical help:

Worried about your mate’s drug use? Here’s how to talk to them


Ambulance: 42%

of you now use less

Like to get help with

What happened

89% 34% 30% 26% 23% 23% 19% 7% 7% 5% 5% 5%

We asked respondents why they thought it had happened... I took too much 43% I mixed drugs and alcohol 19% I was unlucky 14% Underlying health problem 10% Mental health issues 6% Bad drugs 2%

No idea

A+E: 66%

How much

Arrested and charged

Services used in the last year:

28% of respondents were searched at least once in the last year when in possession of drugs, and the drugs weren’t found. Here’s what happened to the unlucky 16% who did get caught with drugs on them in the last 12 months:

Let off with a telling off

mate in a state?

In the last 12 months, fewer than 5% of respondents had to seek medical help during or after a night out following use of drugs/alcohol, 1% three or more times

getting busted

Given caution/ warning

take me to the HOSPITAL

What do you think would happen if you got caught with some cannabis?

Spliff 63% 2gms 13% 14gm 1%

32% 66% 17%

3% 18% 78%

2% 3% 4%

What do you think would happen if you got caught with some cocaine?

A line 22% 1gms 3% 5gm 0%

48% 36% 4%

25% 57% 93%

5% 4% 3%

What do you think would happen if you got caught with some ecstasy?

A pill 33% 5 pills 5% 20 pills 0%

42% 38% 5%

19% 53% 93%

5% 4% 3%

Top Criminologist Fiona Measham on the law: “There are no official national thresholds for the punishment you can expect to receive for different quantities of drugs. Indeed, an attempt to introduce them in the Drugs Act of 2005 evaporated amid arguments about whether possession vs supply should be set at 2, 5, 10 or 20 pills, and so on. The UK has always had a more flexible approach than other countries.

The Association of Chief Police Officers makes all sorts of recommendations, but a key factor is the local community priorities regarding policing: are drugs a top priority? Which drugs? For example, in Westminster, the priorities are policing open markets and crack houses; club drug use is not as high a priority. So regional variations and local policing priorities are key factors.”


The Mixmag Drug Survey