Last year Stuff.co.nz partnered with the Global Drug Survey to ask Kiwis about their drug consumption. We now have the results. Simply click on the bubbles to learn more.

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Alcohol

New Zealand usage: 97.9 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used alcohol at least once in their lifetime, and 91 per cent have used it in the past year.

Alcohol is New Zealand's most popular drug.

The Global Drug Survey found that New Zealand respondents who thought their alcohol consumption was below average were more likely to be heavy drinkers. Only 14 per cent of respondents believed their drinking was above average.

Research suggests that one of the most effective ways to reduce alcohol consumption is to inform users of its harmful effects.

Drug information

Alcohol is produced by fermentation - the action of yeast on liquids containing sugars and starches. pure alcohol has no colour or taste. In New Zealand, alcohol is the most widely used psychoactive, or mood-changing, recreational drug.

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Opioid Painkillers

New Zealand usage: 35 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used opioid painkillers at least once in their lifetime, and 19.1 per cent have used them in the past year.

Tramadol

New Zealand usage: 24 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used Tramadol at least once in their lifetime, and 11.5 per cent have used it in the past year.

Tramadol is a prescription drug.

Of survey respondents who used Tramadol, 78.1 per cent used it to relieve pain, 18.4 per cent to get high and 27.9 per cent to relax. While 71.6 per cent of the respondents got it on prescription, most of the others got it from a friend.

Problem behaviours:

While 21.1 per cent endorsed two or more of these behaviours, 23.3 per cent would like to use less in the next 12 months.

Kava

New Zealand usage: 22.2 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used kava at least once in their lifetime, and 3 per cent have used it in the past year.

Benzodiazepines

New Zealand usage: 16.7 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used benzodiazepines at least once in their lifetime, and 6.8 per cent have used them in the past year.

Benzodiazepines are prescription drugs.

Of survey respondents who used benzodiazepines, 58.2 per cent used them to sleep, 20.4 per cent to get high and 70.2 per cent used them to relax.

While 74.9 per cent of users got benzodiazepines on prescription, respondents found it possible to get them from a friend or dealer or buy them online as well.

Problem behaviours:

While 37.7 per cent endorsed two or more of these behaviours, 22.4 per cent would like to use less in the next 12 months.

Drug information

Benzodiazepnes are often medically classified as sedatives/hypnotic (inducing sleep) or anxiolytics (relieving anxiety). Other medical uses include treatment of epilepsy, as a muscle relaxant, alcohol withdrawal, or as an anaesthetic before surgery. non-medical uses include becoming intoxicated, substituting/enhancing the effects of opiates, and counteracting the effects of other drugs.

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Z Drugs

New Zealand usage: 9.8 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used Z drugs at least once in their lifetime, and 5.5 per cent have used them in the past year, more than half of whom had used them in the past month.

Z drugs are a group of non-benzodiazepine prescription drugs with effects similar to benzodiazepines that are used in the treatment of insomnia, with most names starting with the letter Z. Zopiclone, zolpidem and zaleplon are three primary groups of Z drugs.

Of survey respondents who used Z drugs, 88.8 per cent used them to help sleep, 27.7 per cent for relaxation and 8 per cent to get high.

More than 40 per cent of the respondents said it would be really easy to get a prescription in the next seven days.

Problem behaviours:

While 31.3 per cent endorsed two or more of these behaviours, 32.7 per cent would like to use less in the next 12 months.

Opium

New Zealand usage: 8.2 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used opium at least once in their lifetime, and 1.1 per cent have used it in the past year.

Tobacco

New Zealand usage: 68.8 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used tobacco at least once in their lifetime, and 33.5 per cent have used it in the past year.

Data from the 2013 census found that there were 463,000 adult smokers in New Zealand, a drop of 23 per cent since 2006.

The Global Drug Survey found that 42 per cent of smokers were either using or had used some form of nicotine replacement in an attempt to quit smoking. Patches were the most popular form of nicotine replacement. A further 44.3 per cent of survey respondents had used e-cigarettes.

Drug information

Tobacco refers to the dried leaves of the tobacco plant, which are processed into cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff or snus. Tobacco contains nicotine which is very addictive, and more than 4000 chemical compounds, including cyanide, acetone, DDT, carbon monoxide and ammonia.

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Energy Drinks

New Zealand usage: 68.8 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used energy drinks at least once in their lifetime, and 46.2 per cent have used them in the past year.

MDMA

New Zealand usage: 36.4 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used MDMA at least once in their lifetime, and 13.1 per cent have used it in the past year.

The survey found the average price of a MDMA pill in New Zealand was $45.70 when buying one pill at a time, or $280 a gram when buying powder.

Seventy-three per cent of users take one pill a session and 6 per cent take three or more.

Sixty per cent of MDMA users surveyed thought the quality of MDMA had dropped in the past year.

The strength of MDMA pills varies significantly. A 2000 study showed that the average strength of the pills was 92 milligrams (with a range of 30mg to 172mg; a big difference in strength).

There is the possibility of a pill containing no MDMA at all, or a different, lethal chemical such as PMMA.

Drug information

Ecstasy is the common street name for the stimulant methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). The term ‘ecstasy’ refers to the fact that MDMA produces feelings of energy, empathy and euphoria.

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Caffeine Tablets

New Zealand usage: 29.1 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used caffeine tablets at least once in their lifetime, and 5 per cent have used them in the past year.

Amphetamines

New Zealand usage: 21.3 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used amphetamines at least once in their lifetime, and 4.9 per cent have used them in the past year.

Amphetamines are found mostly in powder (speed) or crystal (P) form. Powder is generally snorted, while the crystal is smoked in a pipe.

Of survey respondents from New Zealand who had used amphetamines, 53.3 per cent said the most common form used was powder, and 45.8 per cent said the most common form was methampetamine (crystal). A further 0.8 per cent used paste.

Drug information

Amphetamines are the name for a family of drugs that act as stimulants to the central nervous system. Stimulants speed up the messages to and from the brain. Amphetamines also act as appetite suppressants and some are legally prescribed for this purpose.

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Cocaine

New Zealand usage: 19 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used cocaine at least once in their lifetime, and 3.2 per cent have used it in the past year.

New Zealand has one of the highest prices ($461 a gram) for cocaine in the world because of its isolation and the penalty risk when trafficking.

In Europe, a gram costs about $80, and in the South American production countries it can go for as low as $5 a gram.

Of the survey respondents who had taken cocaine, 65.3 per cent did so while also drinking alcohol.

The combination of alcohol and cocaine makes the liver generate a third chemical, coca ethylene. This makes the risk of damaging users' brains, blood vessels and heart much higher because coca ethylene is an even more toxic substance than cocaine or alcohol.

Drug information

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Shisha

New Zealand usage: 17.4 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used shisha at least once in their lifetime, and 7.1 per cent have used it in the past year.

Ritalin

New Zealand usage: 14.2 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used Ritalin at least once in their lifetime, and 5.1 per cent have used it in the last year.

Ritalin is a prescription drug.

Of survey respondents who used Ritalin, 35.1 per cent used it to help study orwork, while 52.4 per cent used it just to get high.

Most of the respondents got it from a dealer or a friend who gets it prescribed, but most of them would find it difficult to get it in the next seven days.

Problem behaviours:

While 14.4 per cent endorsed two or more of these behaviours, 27 per cent would like to use less in the next 12 months.

Poppers

New Zealand usage: 14.2 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used poppers at least once in their lifetime, and 1.6 per cent have used them in the past year.

E-cigarettes

New Zealand usage: 11.6 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used e-cigarettes at least once in their lifetime, and 6.2 per cent have used them in the past year.

Nutmeg

New Zealand usage: 6.8 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used nutmeg at least once in their lifetime, and 1.3 per cent have used it in the past year.

Cannabis

New Zealand usage: 71.2 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used cannabis at least once in their lifetime, and 35.3 per cent have used it in the past year.

Cannabis is New Zealand's most popular illegal drug.

Among New Zealand respondents, 63.8 per cent said they used cannabis purely for recreational purposes, 1.7 per cent used it purely for medical purposes and the remaining 34.5 per cent said they used it for a combination of medical and recreational purposes.

Smoking joints was the most common form of usage (43.3 per cent).

Only 5.7 per cent of respondents sought to reduce harm to their lungs by vaporising (2.9 per cent) or eating (3.8 per cent) cannabis instead of smoking it, while 23.9 per cent increased the risk of lung damage by mixing cannabis with tobacco, which is low compared with other cannabis users in the world.

Of the cannabis users surveyed, 12.1 per cent reported being found in possession of the drug by police.

While most cannabis users function well and do not develop serious health problems, some people are more vulnerable to the unwanted mental harms associated with its use.

Drug information

Cannabis is a drug that comes from the sativa plant. the main active chemical in cannabis is THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabional). There are three main forms of cannabis: marijuana, hashish and hash oil. Marijuana is the most common and least powerful form of cannabis, consisting of the dried leaves and flowers of the plant.

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LSD

New Zealand usage: 31.9 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used LSD at least once in their lifetime, and 7.9 per cent have used it in the past year.

Drug information

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is one of the most commonly used hallucinogens in New Zealand. LSD usually comes in the form of liquid, tablets or capsules, squares of gelatine or small squares of paper (blotting paper) that have been soaked in Liquid LSD.

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Magic Mushrooms

New Zealand usage: 27.2 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used magic mushrooms at least once in their lifetime, and 4.6 per cent have used them in the past year.

Nitrous Oxide

New Zealand usage: 26.3 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used nitrous oxide at least once in their lifetime, and 3.2 per cent have used it in the past year.

Synthetic Cannabis

New Zealand usage: 22 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used synthetic cannabis at least once in their lifetime, and 6.8 per cent have used it in the last year.

Drug information

Synthetic cannabinoids are chemicals that mimic the effect of THC – one of the ingredients in cannabis. THC is the part of cannabis that gets you ‘high’. These chemicals are added to a mixture of dried plant matter and sold under brand names such as “Kronic”, “Spice”, and “K2”. Such products were developed to be a legal alternative to cannabis, however many synthetic cannabinoids substances are now banned in New Zealand.

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Salvia Divinorum

New Zealand usage: 15.1 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used salvia divinorum at least once in their lifetime, and 2.3 per cent have used it in the past year.

Drug information

Salvia (of the type Salvia divinorum) is an herb common to southern Mexico and Central and South America. It is used as a hallucinogenic drug, and can alter sensory perceptions, often resulting in an ‘out of body’ experience.

Traditionally salvia has been ingested by chewing fresh leaves or by drinking their extracted juices. The dried leaves of salvia can also be smoked as a joint, consumed in water pipes, or vaporized and inhaled.

The effects of salvia vary depending on how much is taken and how it is taken. Subjective effects have been described as intense but short-lived, appearing in less than one minute and lasting less than 30 minutes. Effects include disassociation, psychedelic-like changes in visual perception, mood and body sensations, emotional swings, feelings of detachment and hallucinations.

Some people find the experience enjoyable, while others find the loss of control over themselves, their body and perception of their environment unpleasant or scary.

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Ketamine

New Zealand usage: 8 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used ketamine at least once in their lifetime, and 1 per cent have used it in the past year.

Drug information

Ketamine is a hallucinogenic drug originally used as a medical and veterinary anaesthetic. It can alter sensory perceptions, often resulting in an ‘out of body’ experience, sometimes referred to as going into a ‘K-hole’. These effects have led to its recreational use as a party drug, and it has also been implicated as a date-rape drug.

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Mescaline

New Zealand usage: 7.1 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used mescaline at least once in their lifetime, and 1.1 per cent have used it in the past year.

DXM

New Zealand usage: 5.6 per cent of New Zealanders surveyed have used DXM at least once in their lifetime, and 1.4 per cent have used it in the past year.