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Australians Are the Biggest Bong Smokers on the Planet

The Annual Global Drugs Survey summary is here and we're officially the world's biggest bong heads.

by Katherine Gillespie
24 May 2017, 1:08am

Yep, a Shane Warne bong. Courtesy of artisanal bong makers Gatorbeug

The results of the annual Global Drugs Survey are to be published Thursday, but some key findings were released this morning. The biggest takeaway so far? Australians are partial to water bongs. We're the biggest bong users in the world, in fact.

The survey is actually a fascinating and in-depth look at how drug habits vary between regions. This year's findings counted 115,000 international respondents surveyed in 2016, 5,700 of whom are Australian. More than 75 percent of Australians admitted they'd taken illegal drugs before, and 30 percent had done so in the month before the survey.

Cannabis was the most popular illicit substance used here, followed by MDMA, cocaine, and LSD. 31.9 percent of Australians said they'd also used tobacco, which is actually lower than the number of people who have used cannabis (48.1 percent). Weed is also used more frequently than caffeinated energy drinks, which came in at 28.9 percent. Australian respondents are also likelier to have injected illegal substances, with an average of six percent having done so in their lifetime—the global average being two percent. And yes, the results showed that while Australians aren't the biggest consumers of weed, we are the world leaders in water pipe use.

A more complete picture will appear Thursday, but another trend highlighted by the Global Drug Survey includes our preference for the spliff—we are slightly more likely to mix cannabis with tobacco than other nations. Europeans share our passion for doing this, while New Zealanders and Americans are much more likely to smoke their weed straight.

A little concerningly, 6.9 percent of men and 5.9 percent of women report being stoned 12 hours per day, on average.

Another less positive finding from the survey: Australians are paying more for cocaine than users from any other country—although this won't necessarily come as much of a surprise to anyone who has travelled abroad. Australian participants in the survey were paying far more than even New Zealanders, spending approximately $321 per gram. In Colombia, cocaine is priced around $5.26 per gram.

Another interesting take home is that magic mushrooms appear to be the safest recreational drug in the world. More than 12,000 people taking the survey reported taking psilocybin hallucinogenic mushrooms in the past year, and only 0.2 percent of them required medical treatment in the aftermath. That's a rate at least five times lower than that of ecstasy.

This is the sixth year the Global Drug Survey has asked people around the world to anonymously report their substance habits. It opens for participation every November, if there's something you need to get off your chest.

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