An exclusive YouGov survey for VICE UK today shows just how out of touch drug policy is with the lifestyles and opinions of young Brits. Our data shows that people are willing to take the risk of consuming illegal drugs, but that they want policymakers to help them be safe.
The poll, commissioned as part of VICE UK's major new drug safety messaging campaign, "Safe Sesh", found that 20 percent of young people have taken illegal drugs at some point in their lifetime, and that more than three in five (62 percent) young people believe that the government's current policies towards illegal drugs are ineffective.
It's clear that respondents aren't afraid of the law when it comes to drugs: nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of those who have taken illegal drugs said the fact that these drugs are illegal makes no difference in their choice to take them. Three out of four (74 percent) young people surveyed believe there should be a stronger focus on treatment and rehabilitation.
It's also clear that the "war on drugs" isn't working from a policing standpoint. Over two in five (43 percent) of all adults surveyed believe they can get weed delivered in 45 minutes or less, roughly the same amount of time it takes to order a pizza. One in five young people surveyed said they could get cocaine delivered to their house in 45 minutes or less.
Young people aren't deterred by the dangers that come with illegal drugs, either. Twenty-nine percent of young adults who take drugs admit they don't know what's in the drugs they're taking. A quarter of young adults who have taken drugs have had a negative experience because they didn't know what they were taking, while 32 percent of those who have taken illegal drugs didn't know their strength.
Of those who have taken illegal drugs, 88 percent of young people have smoked weed. Nearly two in five (38 percent) young people who have taken drugs have taken MDMA or ecstasy.
The effects of drugs are finding their way from Friday and Saturday nights into our weekdays, as over a third of young people who have taken drugs admitted that they have gone to school, college or work high or on a comedown.
While current policies may be leading to unsafe decisions and situations, young people want the government to help them avoid risky behaviour. As many as three out of five (61 percent) young people would feel favourable about a government that supported the implementation of more services for testing the contents of drugs at certain venues like clubs and festivals.
Just over a third (34 percent) of young people would be likely to use a confidential and anonymous service that tested the contents of their drugs at clubs or festivals. A similar proportion (36 percent) would be unlikely to use the service.
The YouGov / VICE UK survey was commissioned as part of Safe Sesh, a VICE UK harm reduction campaign produced in collaboration with The Loop and the Royal Society for Public Health.