Survey Reveals Countries with Greater Chance of Bad Drug Experiences

By Paul Gaita 02/02/15

The U.S. ranks about the mid-range of countries where people have bad reactions to psychedelics.

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Each year, the Global Drug Survey (GDS) reports on statistics and trends in drug use around the world. Among the more intriguing data provided in the 2014 GDS report is a list of the countries where individuals have reported greater occurrences of “bad trips” after using either LSD or magic mushrooms.

Based on information from countries where there were more than 500 survey respondents, it appears that Portugal had the greatest number of LSD users who experienced a bad trip, with 38% of the respondents answering in the affirmative. Mexico, Canada, Brazil, and Spain filled out the list’s top five slots, while the United States ranked eighth out of the 17 countries included in the list. At the bottom is the Netherlands, where the drug appears to retain much of the negative connotation associated with prevalent use in the 1960s.

While Portugal tops the list of places where bad LSD trips are commonplace, it’s at the bottom of the GDS’ findings on psychedelic mushrooms. Portuguese respondents stated that only 12% of their magic mushroom experiences took a turn for the worse, while Canada and the United States occupied the top slots at 33.91% and 32.47%, respectively.

Also interesting to note was the placement of Spain and Brazil, two countries where psychedelic mushrooms are legal. Spain ranked fifth on the list, with 24.85% of respondents claiming bad trips, while Brazil was second to last at 12.50%.

The GDS recently concluded polling for its 2015 survey, which will be its largest to date, with more than 100,000 respondents from over 50 countries contributing information. Initial results will be published on the site and through its numerous media partners on June 8, 2015.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.