In the period March-April 2021, the European Web Survey on Drugs (EWSD 2021) was conducted. A total of 30 countries participated in it – 21 EU members and 9 non-EU countries. The survey questionnaire was presented in 27 languages, according to the official languages of the participating countries. The target group of the study was people aged 18 or over who have used drugs, and its main aim was to improve the understanding of drug use patterns in Europe and help shape future drug policies and interventions. Significant interest in the study was registered – the questionnaire web page was visited by more than 360,000 individuals, of whom around 84,000 expressed a desire to participate. A total of 48,469 completed questionnaires were received from the study and validated by EMCDDA.
997 respondents participated in the study from Bulgaria, but as a final result, data for 851 respondents was validated. About 22% of them are female. A small proportion (0.9%) of men self-identify as being of the opposite sex.
The largest number of respondents are between the ages of 25 and 34 (47.1%) and 35 and 44 (28.7%). Only 7.6% of those who participated in the study were aged 45 or over.
The majority of the surveyed persons have secondary education, only 7.1% have completed higher education. Over 1/3 of respondents are employed full-time, 29.1% work part-time, and 20.4% are unemployed.
More than 4/5 of those who participated in the study are from a city, 11.4% are from a town, and 2.9% are from a village.
Regarding the use of different types of drugs, the respondents indicated that they mostly used cannabis – 93.4% had at least one use of the substance in their lifetime, 86.8% – amphetamines, 76.9% – of cocaine, 65.3% – of ecstasy, 64.2% – of heroin. Just over half (50.5%) of the respondents have used new psychoactive substances at least once in their lifetime.
If the data on drug use at least once in the last 12 months is considered, cannabis is again the most used substance – 66.7% (at 93% overall for the countries participating in the study), followed by amphetamines – 46.1% (at 28% overall for participating countries), heroin – 35.8% (at 3% overall for participating countries), benzodiazepines – 32.7%, cocaine – 29.1% (at 35% overall for participating countries). Over 17% of respondents had used new psychoactive substances at least once in the last 12 months (compared to 16% overall for participating countries).
In current use (in the last 30 days), the most used substance was also cannabis (45.1%), followed by heroin (27.7%), benzodiazepines (26.1%) and amphetamines (21.7%).
The high rate of ketamine use (23.3% at least once in a lifetime) suggests a special attention in the future regarding the prevalence of its use in Bulgaria. It is also important to note the very high proportion of cigarette users among drug users – 89.4% of those covered in the study (95.7% of respondents) had used tobacco in the last 30 days before completing the questionnaire.