Epidemiology of hallucinogenic drug use in the Netherlands
background In recent years there was a renewed interest in psychedelic substances.
aim To present an overview of what is known about the use of classic psychedelic drugs and ‘atypical’ psychedelic drugs (i.e. entactogen/empathogenic drugs like mdma and dissociative drugs such as ketamine) in the Netherlands.
method Data from a Dutch adult general population survey from 2016 and 2018 and other surveys - mainly among nightlife attendees - were used to provide prevalence estimates and user characteristics. In addition to that, data from several Dutch monitoring systems were included for information on problematic psychedelic drug use, health emergencies and psychedelic drug markets.
results The last year prevalence of ecstasy among Dutch adults was 2.9%, making it the most used psychedelic in the general population. For hallucinogenic mushrooms/truffles, lsd, 2C-B and ketamine, the last year prevalence estimate ranged between 0.2 and 0.6%. For all psychedelic substances, higher use rates were found among men, young adults between 20-29 years old, adults with higher education, and inhabitants of urban areas. In different groups of nightlife attendees, psychedelic substance use prevalence was greater than that of the general population. Data from various sources suggested an increase in the number of ketamine users.
conclusion Apart from ecstasy, the use of psychedelic substances is relatively low in the general population. In subgroups of the Dutch population, ketamine use increased in recent years. Further research is needed to gain a better understanding of the use of psychedelics in the Netherlands, particularly in subpopulations.