Alcohol use problematic for half of drug survey respondents


The Belgian section of the annual Global Drug Survey shows that half of the respondents have signs of problem drinking and that 42% smoke marijuana

One in five grows their own

The Belgian section of the annual Global Drug Survey shows that alcohol is – unsurprisingly – the most used legal drug. Nearly all of the 2,670 respondents stated that they had drunk alcohol in the past year. But more than half of them indicated overuse of alcohol, according to the parameters laid out by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Thirty percent of all respondents drinks more than six alcoholic drinks at least one day per week, which is an indication of binge drinking. Out of all drugs, alcohol is also the main reason for the need to go to an emergency department of a hospital.

Cannabis – also not surprisingly – is the most popular of the illegal drugs, used by about 42% of the respondents. A unexpected result is that one out of five respondents grows their own cannabis at home. The Belgian percentages concerning other illegal drugs, like XTC (24%), cocaine (20%) and speed (8%) are fairly typical, according to researchers of the University College of Ghent and Ghent University.

The survey, admits researchers, is not completely representative as online questionnaires regarding drugs tend to attract users and as more than half the respondents were between 20 and 30 years old.

In a reaction to the figures, young politician Nand De Klerck of the socialist party SP.A proposed the introduction of free and anonymous checks of drugs in Flanders. This would not only aid the general health of drug users,  he said, but also aid prevention services in tracking down new, dangerous substances.