EMCDDA launches 2024 European Web Survey on Drugs to assess patterns of drug use in over 30 countries

Do you use drugs? How many? Why?

Do you use drugs? How many? Why? These are among the questions posed in the latest European Web Survey on Drugs, launched today by the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA). Targeted at people, aged 18 and over, who have used drugs, the survey aims to improve understanding of patterns of drug use in Europe and help shape future drug policies and interventions.

The voluntary, anonymous survey — one of the agency’s targeted ‘leading-edge’ monitoring methods — will run this year in 36 countries in around 30 languages. As in previous years, it will be promoted nationally by the Reitox focal points and their partners, as well as through targeted social media advertisements.

For the second time, the agency’s partners from the Western Balkans and the European Neighbourhood Policy area through the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA 8) and EU4Monitoring Drugs (EU4MD II) projects are also participating, bridging an important data gap in the regions.

Web-based surveys have the benefit of reaching people who use drugs directly. They are quick and cheap to set up, provide new data rapidly and can help spot emerging trends. If the same questions are used, along with a rigorous translation process, then these surveys can also allow for cross-national comparisons.

The new questionnaire, which will run for six weeks, is structured in modules on: socio-demographics, drug using patterns, access to drugs (amounts usually bought and prices paid) and with a deeper focus on the patterns of cannabis use. Its findings will contribute to the emerging knowledge base on drug-using practices in Europe. This will help enhance market size estimates at national and European level and contribute to policy development more widely.

While web surveys are not representative of the general population, when carefully conducted and combined with traditional data-collection methods, they can help paint a more detailed, realistic and timely picture of drug use and drug markets in Europe. As such, they are a key ingredient in the EMCDDA’s responsiveness to an ever-shifting drugs problem.

To date, four rounds of the EWSD have been implemented, with 33 countries and over 150 000 respondents participating in the survey.

Banner for the European Web Survey on Drugs