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These are the European cities that use the most drugs (based on their toilet water)

The research observed a spike in drug use over the weekend.
Dec 13th 2016, 12:38 PM 40,186 24

cocaine A map charting the relative use of cocaine across 50 European cities. Source: emcdda

A EUROPE-WIDE research programme that measures drug use based on the analysis of wastewater has thrown up some interesting discoveries.

The analysis was carried out on wastewater from 50 cities each over the course of March of this year.

The cities ranged from as northwestern as Reykjavik in Iceland to as southeastern as Nicosia in Cyprus. No Irish cities were monitored as part of the study.

It found a wide variance in the different types of drugs being used in different parts of Europe and observed the dramatic spike in the use of some drugs that occurs at the weekend.

Source: EMCDDA/YouTube

The wastewater analysis was carried out the main EU drugs agency and revealed a number of interesting trends:

  • Cocaine use was highest in western and southern cities with Antwerp recording the highest usage ahead of London and then Zurich.
  • The use of MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, has increased since 2011 with several cities recording sharp increases over the last five years. Eindhoven recorded the highest MDMA usage, significantly ahead of  Antwerp in second place.
  • The use of amphetamine, commonly known as speed, was concentrated in northern European countries. Antwerp again saw the greatest concentration of the drug ahead of Duelmen (Germany), Dortmund and Reykjavik.
  • The use of Methamphetamine, commonly known as crystal meth, was generally low across Europe. Traditionally concentrated in the Czech Republic it now appears to be present in parts of eastern Germany.

PastedImage-70364 The top 15 of the 50 cities studied for their use of MDMA. Source: emcdda


The study was conducted over the course of March 2016 and also monitored the average daily drug use over each of the seven days of the week. The results found that the use of cocaine and MDMA rose sharply at weekends in most cities, while methamphetamine use was more evenly distributed throughout the week.

Below is the daily trend of the five cities that had the greatest concentration of cocaine or cocaine metabolites in the sewer system.

The cities are Antwerp in green, Zurich in black, Barcelona in blue, London in orange, and Monlina de Sugara (Spain) in turquoise.

PastedImage-99665 Source: emcdda

Read: Gardaí seize MDMA and heroin worth €1.1m in Dublin >

Read: ‘People die in toilets, people die in urine-soaked stairwells’ >

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Rónán Duffy


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