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Hundreds reveal drink and drug experiences

MORE than 600 Scots have taken part in the world's biggest drugs survey which aims to assess the truth about drink and drug use.

Scotland is being targeted along with 17 other countries by the researchers who want to paint a picture of the way people use everything from caffeine and cannabis to cocaine.

Called the Global Drug Survey, the online questionnaire at www.globaldrugsurvey.com asks about experimentation with so-called legal highs, such as Benzo fury, and people can rate their experiences and even say if they felt a drug was "value for money".

The negative effects of using different drugs are examined as well, with questions asking about "bad trips" and risks of harm.

Dr Adam Winstock, the consultant psychiatrist and addiction specialist behind the survey, said that in general there is "very little" real data about how most people use drugs.

Governments have to rely on national household surveys and statistics from GPs and A&E departments, he said, arguing that policy is often based on the experiences of a minority.

Dr Winstock, a senior lecturer at Kings College London, added: "There are people who develop serious drug and alcohol problems and run into serious harm. We run the Global Drug Survey to provide real time information on drug use on the majority of people and use it to inform them and governments about how they can keep themselves safe."

Dr Winstock wants to encourage more people living in Scotland to complete the confidential survey to show the truth about the relationship Scots have with drink and drugs.

He said: "Everyone is going to expect that the Scots are going to come out as the biggest drinkers, with the least insight into their drinking and the highest rates of recklessness."

He also said the information could help inform the way services deal with legal highs. A total of 47 people in Scotland were found dead in 2012 after taking one of the substances which are manufactured to mimic illegal drugs. The 2011 Global Drugs Survey had more than 15,000 participants.

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