Survey Results: Drug & Alcohol Use In Bermuda

March 21, 2014

Married people drank the most, marijuana remained the most commonly used illegal drug, and 48.6% of people were in favour of decriminalising small amounts of marijuana for personal use – are some of the findings in the latest National Household Survey on Drug Consumption and Health.

The Ministry of National Security, through the Department for National Drug Control, has completed the fifth administration of a National Household Survey on Drug Consumption and Health among Bermuda’s adult residents, and the survey results were released to the public today [Mar 21].

A spokesperson said, “This survey serves to update information collected in the last survey, which was conducted in 2009; and provides trends and information related to the drug situation in Bermuda; more specifically, that of drug consumption, risk behaviours, and provides perceptions on a range of alcohol- and marijuana-related policy items.

“The survey collected information from a scientifically selected, nationally representative, random sample of 1,200 adult residents in Bermuda, 16 years or older, whose participation was voluntary. Trained, experienced, and professional interviewers collected the responses to the questionnaire via telephone interviews over the period of November 4th – 20th 2013.”

The results of this survey showed:

  • The use of both legal and illegal substances have marginally declined over the past four years.
  • Alcohol remained the legal substance of choice among Bermuda’s adults
  • Marijuana remained the most commonly used illegal drug.
  • Of all illicit drugs, marijuana remained the most popular drug being offered to buy or use
  • Females had a greater tendency to use legal drugs [alcohol, cigarettes, and inhalants]
  • Males were more likely to engage in illegal drug use, such as marijuana, hash, cocaine
  • Whites represented the largest proportion of current users of alcohol
  • Drug use was most prevalent among participants who finished only a secondary-level education
  • Married people drank the most
  • Substance use was most prevalent among persons working over 40 hours per week.
  • Age of first use of the top 3 substances [alcohol, cigarettes & marijuana] increased between 2009 and 2013
  • 42.4% had friends or family members who take illicit drug[s]
  • Most drinking was reported to occur on the weekends
  • Males mainly drank beverages with low alcoholic content, females – medium content
  • Binge drinking [having five or more drinks at once] was more prevalent among males.
  • One in 10 persons was drunk on at least one day in the past month.
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages sometimes, doing so often, and becoming drunk were perceived to be the most harmful of the risky behaviours – even more so than smoking marijuana often.
  • 96.5% of respondents knew the minimum drinking age in Bermuda to be 18 years or older
  • 68.4% were in favour of laws preventing persons from serving alcohol to minors in their homes or premises
  • 83.1% were in favor of roadside sobriety checkpoints
  • 25.7% of the respondents were in favour of lowering the blood alcohol legal limit from 0.08 to 0.01.
  • 48.6% were in favour of decriminalisation of small amounts of marijuana for personal use
  • 41.3% were not in favour of decriminalisation
  • 9.4% said they did not know or did not care

The Government said, “Substance use remains a complex phenomenom that presents unique and costly consequences to society. Decision makers require better data; good policies and programmes require good analysis.

“No single measurement can reflect the multifaceted nature of problems associated with substance misuse but basic indicators are needed for planning and action. All estimates are, in some ways, incomplete; but an incomplete estimate used well is better than using unfounded perceptions or none at all.

“Policy makers will continue to face difficult policy choices when tackling issues related to legal substances, illicit drugs, and crime, while ensuring public safety. The Report of the 2013 National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health, in both substance and form, represents an important step forward in addressing the challenges presented to us.”

The full 82-page 2013 National Household Survey is below [PDF here]

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Comments (19)

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  1. Terry says:

    Basically this tells me that no one gives a crap as long as it does not affect them.

    Reality is the 9.4% really is 86.2%

  2. Hmmmm says:

    “Drunk in loooooooove” LOL

  3. Tipping Point! says:

    Although it was only 1200 random people the significance of this should not be understated! In a self-proclaimed civilised western democratic society, majority rules full stop. I’d accept a referendum on decriminalisation but the whole concept is bogus- you’re still saying we shouldn’t use it but it’s only a slap on the wrist if you get caught. Hurry up and legalise the God-given medicine!

    • chingas says:

      And most political polls are based on a 400 person sample size. It would say that 1200 sample extrapolates well.

    • smh says:

      I totally agree with you !

    • jt says:

      I’m for legalizing…just can’t stand some of the rhetoric used by that camp to push their cause. The God given line is another one that rubs me.

      • Tipping Point! says:

        Emotion comes from within, so if my words rubbed you the wrong way that’s your choice. Please don’t assume my concept of ‘God’ exists within the bounds of a religious text. And even if it did- each to their own my friend. As long as I don’t force my views on you or cause any harm why do you care? Peace and love…don’t mean to be confrontational just had to set the record straight.

  4. Felix says:

    Love the smell of Hashish burning.

  5. sage says:

    This is 2013, I bet numbers for legalization (not decrim) are approaching 50%, in the US public support for legal herb is 58% and climbing, it can be said that the US government no longer represents the will of the people.

    • smh says:

      U see they didnt put anything in there about legalization percentages ! I think even if it was 10% they still should have put it in the survey for the ppl to see……the always trying to hide something Bermuda needs to wake up !

    • Terry says:

      They never did.

  6. Keepin' it Real...4Real! says:

    And, the moral of this story is..??

  7. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    The thin end of the wedge.

  8. Future says:

    This is worth repeating: “Drug use was most prevalent among participants who finished only a secondary-level education”

    Getting high or drinking alcohol kills bran cells. Those who need them most are killing them the most ( hence they can’t even see it isn’t ‘medicinal’).

    Honorary mention goes to “The Government said, “Substance use remains a complex phenomenom that presents unique and costly consequences to society”"

    Costly? Is the societal cost offset by govt. revenue from taxing the legal drugs?

    Nope. Ironic statement.

    • YADON says:

      Drinking alcohol or taking hard drugs kills your brain cells. Cannabis is a scientifically proven neuroprotectant. In fact the U.S. Federal government has a patent out on it for this purpose. If you don’t believe me research it.

    • Maven says:

      Moron, I bet Bob Marley after all his smoke had more brains then you. Do research before you open ya mouth

  9. 48% is straight up inaccurate.It is not so much those who want or don’t want …but those who know why…it is unlawful.It as it stands is a wise investment to several wealthy buggers who now and have for a great many years been primary investors innit.They are the whos who…they are also the reason for the violence…for the additives that cause atrocities,the heroin,the crack,the chrystal meth,heroin in pot is the same as muscle relaxant…the date rape drug of the century.And these church going investors are responsible….so yes decriminalise it…take their power away…license users and treat it like a license to drive…it should be a privilage and a responsibility…any untoward behaviour and remove the license…there by creating a law obiding recreational usage….this is the proactive way forward.

  10. The only ones that don’t want it decrimonalised are the investors!pander to them…pander to yhe ills of society!

  11. Thatkidatoxford says:

    It would be interesting to know which race represents the largest proportion of current users of marijuana.