European Web Survey on Drugs: an overview of the project
This paper presents an overview of the European Web Survey on Drugs (EWSD), a project which began in 2016 with the aim of developing a system for collecting novel data from people who use drugs of value to the EMCDDA and its national partners.
This publication is published as part of a collection of papers on web surveys: Monitoring drug use in the digital age: studies in web surveys (Insights 26).
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This paper presents an overview of the European Web Survey on Drugs (EWSD), a project which began in 2016 with the aim of developing a system for collecting novel data from people who use drugs of value to the EMCDDA and its national partners. To date, the EWSD has covered 33 countries and involved over 150 000 respondents. The paper describes the impetus of the survey, namely that the quantities of substances consumed by people who use drugs was a key component missing from developing estimates of the size of the drug market in the EU, and for which there was no routine data collection and only limited data available. It also explores the methodological development of the survey, drawing inspiration from a web survey developed by researchers from the Trimbos Institute, and how its first two rounds were conducted in 2016 and 2017-2018 across 16 participating countries. The paper presents selected findings from these two rounds of the EWSD and examines the overall lessons learned from this project. By doing so, the paper shows how the EWSD has proven to be a valuable resource for better understanding drug use and drug markets, supporting policy development and implementation in response to changes in the drugs situation.