Whether you’re in the każin, club or some house party, cocaine and marijuana use is widespread across Malta… at least according to police sources.
A report over the issue brought hell and fury from commenters online who refused to be lumped in with drug users in Malta and Gozo. However, that doesn’t seem to address the fact that roughly two people have been charged with simple possession every single day for the last four years.
We’re all victims of living in our own bubbles, whether that’s assuming drug use is dangerously prevalent or whether it is entirely non-existent. Lovin Malta decided to ask our readers to help us figure out what the drug scene on the island looks like.
It should be made clear this is not statistical science but an online poll of what our readers make of the situation.
Who were the respondents?
475 people responded to the survey.
62.7% were aged between 21 and 35, 17.9% between 36 and 50, 13.9% of respondents were between 16 and 21, 1% were under 16 and 0.5% were over 65.
The majority of respondents were male (62.5%) compared to the 36% females.
1. “It’s out there, there’s a lot of it, and it’s here to stay”: Practically every respondent who uses drugs daily thinks use is widespread
Hinting at the growing bubbles people are finding themselves in, there is an apparent disparity between respondents’ perception on whether or not the use of drugs is rampant.
For example, every single respondent who said they used drugs daily and replied to a question over the drug scene in Malta thought it was prevalent in the country.
One person even described it as “thriving. Many people smoke weed, but even more people take coke (which is shit in Malta)”
However, most didn’t seem to share this opinion with glee, highlighting the many issues facing users.
One person said it was “in a total mess, kids on cocaine. Too much for too many!”
Another said it was a “total failure. People are so scared of the law, that they risk their lives by taking synthetic substances to avoid detection by standard urine tests and also since most new synthetics are not yet illegal”.
On the other hand, a substantial majority of respondents who never took drugs mocked the question asking their opinion on the drug scene in Malta.
“Stupid question” and “Don’t do drugs” were just a couple of the answers that followed the same line of thought… even including “what a crap survey”.
2. Many people seem to have tried drugs at least once
An overwhelming 81.7% of people who took the survey have tried recreational drugs at least once.
Most of them did so out of curiosity, just for fun, or because they wanted to try it at least once in their lifetime. Meanwhile, 30% said they did because their friends were doing it, leaving some indication of what effect peer pressure can have on first-time users.
“I don’t know why [I tried drugs in the first place]. I guess I was curious, but it just seemed like something fun to do that [my friends and I] were all doing together,” one person said.
3. Just 10 of the respondents had tried drugs after they turned 30
The experimentation with recreational substances has long been tied to youth culture, be that the counter culture movement in the 1960s or the emergence of house music in 1990s.
The survey does seem to reflect this, with only 10 respondents trying drugs for the first time after they reached 30, and around 70% of them first experimenting before turning 19.
4. Nearly all of the respondents have tried cannabis
Of those who tried drugs, a mammoth 92.5% have tried marijuana.
Around 50% of people have tried either stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines, party drugs like MDMA, or hallucinogenics.
5. The respondents who are using drugs daily are practically all smoking weed
With a growing movement surrounding the recreational use of cannabis gathering stream both on the local and international level, the use of the drug has slowly become more socially acceptable. It’s telling that all but three of the respondents who took drugs every day were cannabis users.
While indicating that the overwhelming majority of heavy drug use involved softer drugs, three respondents used opioids daily.
Only one person who smoked weed every day had tried drugs after they turned 19.
7. Special occasions bring the snow
Where and when people use drugs can often be challenging to ascertain. However, taking a look at the respondents who said they only used drugs on special occasions paints a unique picture.
While common drugs users seemed to prefer weed, just over 60% of respondents who took drugs either feasts, weddings, or one-off parties took cocaine.
A quick tip; if you’re at an April wedding waiting behind a long line for the toilet, chances are it’s snowing in spring (and by that I mean people are doing cocaine).
Adding the further 20% who said they took party drugs like MDMA only on special occasions, this may show a pattern of high-energy and sociable drug use among sporadic users.
8. Cannabis and cocaine are our respondents’ drugs of choice
When it came to the regular drug users (every day, every few days, or every weekend) who took the poll, around 50% used cannabis, while 30% took cocaine. Party drugs, despite the emerging dance scene in Malta, may not be as widespread as some may have thought, with just 15% of people who took the poll saying they use these drugs regularly.
9. Yet most of the regular drug users don’t think they have a problem
Despite the figures, an impressive 90% of those who did drugs regularly (every day/every few days/ every weekend) said they don’t think they have a drug problem, in a sense burying their heads in the sand over some of the issues that might be affecting them.
10. Who needs a drug dealer when you’ve got a friend?
Buying drugs can be a challenging thing for the regular consumer. I mean, can you really trust a random drug dealer to give you a fair deal?
“A fuck up, drug dealers are selfish,” one person said.
It’s no surprise then that 45% of respondents said they got their drugs from a friend, with just 35% saying they bought it from a drug dealer. But hey, who’s to say they can’t be both?
11. Only three people are getting their drugs through the post
Funnily enough, four people have gotten around the issue of where to buy drugs by either getting it through the post or just growing it themselves.
12. At least most of the daily users aren’t spending all their money on drugs
It’s obvious that dangerous drug use can have a massive dent on anyone’s finances, with addiction forming a disastrous part in destroying one’s life.
However, our respondents don’t seem to be draining what little funds they may have, with at least 50% of people saying they spent less than €200 per month (30% said they spent less than 50).
Worryingly, there were still 10% of people saying they spent over €500 per month.
13. Why do people stop using drugs?
Nowhere is the devastating effect drugs can have on people more apparent than when sifting through the responses of former drug users. While quite a number did talk about how they just grew out of it as responsibilities and priorities changed, some spoke of the issues they faced during addiction or seeing another person suffer through it.
One person detailed how they slowly lost their partner to addiction, with another describing the “personal hell” debt and withdrawal brought them.
“They were just escapism,” a person said. “I stopped when I decided to actually deal with my problems.”
A former drug user called for the drug scene to be “controlled” and regulated.
“Too many young people are getting heavy drugs easily from dealers,” he said.
14. So what about the people who never tried?
The educational and religious messages that “drugs kill” which are drilled into us from a young age do seem to be having an effect.
20% of respondents did say they never tried drugs in their life and all seemed pretty steadfast in highlighting the traumatic impact it can have on irresponsible users.
Most had seen the effects first-hand, with a number of people highlighting how they were “always very aware of how distressing it is since I knew someone close who was a drug addict”.
Another said they felt “no need to, it is potentially a gateway to harder shit, unhealthy, god knows what rubbish is in it, will not fund cunt drug dealers’/barons’ lifestyle.”
15. Most respondents who never tried drugs think none of them should be legal
Despite 90% of the respondents who never tried drugs consuming legal stimulants like alcohol, the same number also believe that no drugs should be legal, whether they are soft drugs like cannabinoids or harder drugs like opioids.
If anyone would like to get in touch, discuss the issuefurther, or would like to shed more light on the subject, please contact [email protected]